Tournament: 2021 National Bank Open
Round: First round (Round of 64)
Venue: Aviva Centre, Toronto, Ontario
Category: ATP Masters 1000
Surface: Outdoor hard
Prize money: $2,850,975
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel | UK - Amazon Prime Video
Karen Khachanov vs Cameron Norrie preview
Karen Khachanov and Cameron Norrie will square off in the first round of the 2021 National Bank Open in what promises to be an entertaining encounter.
While Khachanov recently won a silver medal at the Olympics, Norrie clinched his first tour title in Los Cabos a couple of weeks ago. Thus, both players enter this tournament in a rich vein of form.
The Russian also had a good outing at Wimbledon, where he narrowly fell to Denis Shapovalov in the quarterfinals.
Although Khachanov is yet to make the quarterfinals of a hardcourt Slam, this surface appears to be his strongest. The 25-year-old has a Masters 1000 title on hard (Paris 2018) and is also a two-time semifinalist at the Canadian Open (2018, 2019).
With his silver in Tokyo, Khachanov once again proved his hardcourt credentials.
The Russian, who is unseeded in Toronto, has been handed a brutal draw with the likes of Aslan Karatsev, and Stefanos Tsitsipas potentially lying in wait in the latter rounds.
Norrie, meanwhile, began his post-grass season spectacularly by claiming the title in Los Cabos. But the Brit could not replicate his success in Atlanta or Washington, falling to Emil Ruusuvuori and Kei Nishikori in the last eight.
That said, 2021 has undoubtedly been Norrie's breakthrough year; he has made four ATP finals this year, with at least one final on each surface.
Norrie fell short in the summit clash at Estoril, Lyon, and Queen's before finally triumphing in Mexico. His best result at the Canadian Open came in 2019 when he made the second round.
Karen Khachanov vs Cameron Norrie head-to-head
Cameron Norrie leads Karen Khachanov 2-1 in the head-to-head. Both of Norrie's wins against the Russian have come on clay (Lyon and Barcelona 2021), while Khachanov beat the Brit on indoor hardcourt in Rotterdam this year.
Karen Khachanov vs Cameron Norrie prediction
Karen Khachanov heads into this fixture as the slight favorite due to his credentials on hardcourt. The Russian has more firepower than Norrie from the baseline, which could prove to be the differentiating factor in this clash.
That said, Norrie makes up for his lack of firepower with some disciplined ball-striking off both wings. The Brit is also exceptionally good at retrieving and could force Khachanov into cheap unforced errors.
If the Russian lacks freshness following his exploits in Tokyo, Norrie could make him pay with his style of tennis. But should Khachanov be at a 100% physically, he should be able to clinch the win.
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Prediction: Karen Khachanov to win in three sets.