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St. Petersburg Open 2021: Men's singles draw analysis, preview & prediction

Andrey Rublev (R) and Karen Khachanov
Andrey Rublev (R) and Karen Khachanov
ANALYST

Andrey Rublev will lead a field of top players at the 26th edition of the St. Petersburg Open, scheduled to be played at the Sibur Arena from October 25–31.

The second ATP 250 event in Russia in as many weeks, the St. Petersburg Open will also feature home favorites Karen Khachanov and Aslan Karatsev. Also in the mix are Denis Shapovalov, Roberto Bautista Agut, Taylor Fritz and Sebastian Korda.

With main draw action set to begin on Monday, here is a look at the prospects of the top names in the fray.

Top half: Andrey Rublev and Karen Khachanov lead the Russian charge

Rublev will be looking to bounce back after his recent string of early exits.
Rublev will be looking to bounce back after his recent string of early exits.

Top seeded players: [1] Andrey Rublev, [3] Roberto Bautista Agut, [6] Karen Khachanov, [8] Sebastian Korda

Expected semifinal: Andrey Rublev vs Roberto Bautista Agut

Dark horse: Sebastian Korda

Top seed Andrey Rublev suffered a surprise opening-round exit at the Kremlin Cup last week. The Russian, who lost out to Adrian Mannarino in Moscow, will be looking to bounce back from the disappointment.

Rublev will need to be at his best though, as he could well face the in-form Ilya Ivashka in his first match. Things will not get any easier for the top seed as talented American Sebastian Korda is a potential last-eight opponent.

Marin Cilic is currently playing at the Kremlin Cup.
Marin Cilic is currently playing at the Kremlin Cup.

Karen Khachanov, meanwhile, has landed in a similarly packed section of the draw. He will open against Rublev's Moscow conqueror Mannarino.

If Khachanov were to survive that match-up, he could run into Marin Cilic in the second round. Both Cilic and Khachanov are currently in action at the Kremlin Cup, and barring fatigue, there is no reason why the two men cannot carry their form into St. Petersburg.

Another possible second-round encounter that could have fans excited is between third seed Roberto Bautista Agut and talented American Mackenzie McDonald. The Spaniard has struggled in recent weeks and will hope to find some form in this tournament.

Prediction: Karen Khachanov def. Andrey Rublev

Bottom half: Aslan Karatsev and Denis Shapovalov on course for Indian Wells rematch

Karatsev is the highest-ranked Russian in the bottom half.
Karatsev is the highest-ranked Russian in the bottom half.

Top seeded players: [2] Denis Shapovalov, [4] Aslan Karatsev, [5] Taylor Fritz, [7] Alexander Bublik

Expected semifinal: Denis Shapovalov vs Aslan Karatsev

Dark horse: Tommy Paul

Aslan Karatsev and Denis Shapovalov could be headed for a rematch of their Indian Wells second-round encounter.

Karatsev is likely to open his campaign against Australia's John Millman, and could face Indian Wells semifinalist Taylor Fritz in the quarterfinals.

Fritz, however, may first have to find a way past countryman Tommy Paul. Paul has posted some encouraging results in recent weeks and is more than capable of staging an upset or two.

Denis Shapovalov is the second seed.
Denis Shapovalov is the second seed.

Shapovalov, meanwhile, will be looking to avenge his Indian Wells loss against Karatsev this week. The two are projected to meet in the semifinals in St. Petersburg.

The Canadian will face either Federico Delbonis or Pablo Andujar in the second round, before a possible clash with seventh seed Alexander Bublik.

Prediction: Taylor Fritz def. Denis Shapovalov

Prediction for final

Karen Khachanov def. Taylor Fritz


Edited by Arvind Sriram

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