TennisSection previews the 2021 Rotterdam Open as Stefanos Tsitsipas (2) meets Karen Khachanov in the quarter-finals on Friday, March 5th 2021.
Will yet another seed fall short here at the Rotterdam Open with a potential Karen Khachanov upset victory on Friday? Will Stefanos Tsitsipas take this lack of competition as an opportunity to add yet another title to his trophy cabinet? This is definitely going to be a blockbuster match in the quarter-finals with both players playing some great tennis here in Rotterdam. Will the tournament favourite, Stefanos Tsitsipas, be able to book his spot in the semi-finals, or will Karen Khachanov come out and reach the levels we have seen him play at before and cause the upset here?
Karen Khachanov has been playing very well here in Rotterdam, which is a definite positive thing to see, especially as he had been lacking a lot of confidence in recent years. Khachanov peaked in 2018 when he won the 2018 Paris Masters 1000, beating Novak Djokovic in the Final in straight sets. However, since then, his career and progress has continued to stall. Khachanov has not been playing his best tennis in a while, but I am sure that the 2021 season is going to be a season where he will be fully focused on getting himself back up the rankings. With many Russians finding a lot of success on the tour, such as Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev, and even Aslan Karatsev, Karen Khachanov will want to keep up with his compatriots. Khachanov has beaten some big names here already, beating Stan Wawrinka in straight sets in the first round 6-4/7-5, and Cameron Norrie in the second round 6-2/6-2. Khachanov has the game to beat the best players in the world, he just needs to find the confidence within himself to go after his shots and not get down on himself in the tough moments. Khachanov will be facing his toughest opponent he has faced in a while in Stefanos Tsitsipas on Friday. Khachanov is currently ranked 21st in the world, and Tsitsipas is ranked 6th. Can Khachanov get the job done here and cause what would be a very big upset for him which we have not seen in a very long time?
Stefanos Tsitsipas performed extremely well in his second round match, beating Hubert Hurkacz in 3 sets, 6-4/4-6/7-5. Tsitsipas came out determined from the get go and he did not lift his foot from the pedal at any time even though he lost the second set. The introduction of Tsitsipas in the last couple of years has been great for the game of tennis, as we know we are secure in the hands of many great young players such as Tsitsipas, Zverev, Thiem, Medvedev, and many more! However, if I have to choose one of those players to have the best career out of all of them in the long run, you’d have to think that Tsitsipas is that guy. Tsitsipas has a great one-handed backhand, which is very Federer-like, and his serve is just so big and accurate. The Greek player is incredible all round in his game, and I am sure that in 2021, he will reach the Final of many big tournaments, perhaps even some Grand Slams.
Stefanos Tsitsipas and Karen Khachanov have met twice before, with both encounters coming a few years ago. Their latest encounter was at the 2018 Shanghai Masters 1000 third round where Stefanos Tsitsipas won in straight sets 6-4/7-6(8). Their prior encounter to that was again at the 2017 Shanghai Masters 1000 in the second round where Tsitsipas won again in straight sets 7-5/6-3. Although Tsitsipas has won both of their matches in straight sets, looking at the statistics, you can clearly tell that only a few points in every set changed the outcome of the match. Will Tsitsipas continue to win against Khachanov, or will Khachanov have enough to knock out the No.2 seed here?
Both players have been in great form here, and everything indicates that this is going to be a very tight and exciting match to watch. Stefanos Tsitsipas enters this match the favourite, but of course, in the world of tennis anything can happen, and Karen Khachanov knows this very well. Khachanov has proved the bookies wrong before, beating the likes of Novak Djokovic at the 2018 Paris Masters 1000 Final, but he has not done this for a very long time. On the other hand, Tsitsipas is continuously proving everyone wrong, and when you think he might be plateauing, or not as concentrated on the game as perhaps Dominic Thiem is, he pulls off incredible victories. The last time he did so was just a few weeks ago when he became only the second man to beat Rafael Nadal at a Grand Slam whilst being 2-0 down. Tsitsipas has publicly said that he is determined to win many big titles this season and get his name up there with the best players in the world. The Rotterdam Open is going to be one of the best chances for him to get this done already as he is now the top seed with 6 of the 8 seeds already being knocked out in the first two rounds. I like Karen Khachanov, and I am sure he will improve and reach the levels he once played at, but for now, he is nowhere near Tsitsipas’ level.
Free Tennis Preview and Prediction: Stefanos Tsitsipas to win.