TennisSection previews the 2021 Dubai Open as Karen Khachanov (8) meets Alexei Popyrin (WC) in the Second Round on Tuesday, March 16th 2021.
Will Alexei Popyrin continue to rise up the rankings in the tennis world, building on the momentum he gained after winning his first ATP Tour title a few weeks ago at the 2021 Singapore Open? Will Karen Khachanov bounce back after a shocking loss against Matthew Ebden last week in the Quarter-Final of the 2021 Marseille Open? Both of these players have similar hard-hitting playing styles, so we are in for a very exciting encounter. Who will make their way to the Third-Round?
Alexei Popyrin has been able to live somewhat to his hype this year by winning the 2021 Singapore Open, coming back from a set down in the Final against the very tough Alexander Bublik. Since then, he has struggled a bit with form, but here at the Dubai Open he has started out strongly. Popyrin met Dennis Novak in the first round, beating the big hitting Austrian in straight sets 7-6(3)/7-5. Popyrin was able to maintain his composure during the tough moments in that match, and it is important for him to come through matches like these as they will build his confidence for the next time he is in a similar situation. Popyrin will now have to make sure he is ready to meet a very experienced and tough opponent in Karen Khachanov. Can Popyrin make his way to the Third Round by causing an upset?
Karen Khachanov has been in great form recently, reaching the later stages of a few tournaments in recent weeks. However, Khachanov has recently had a very shocking defeat just last week at the 2021 Marseille Open, losing in the Quarter-Finals to the world No.287, Matthew Ebden, in 3 sets. Khachanov was the heavy favourite entering that match, but he was unable to maintain his composure during the tough moments and you could say he perhaps took the match too lightly. Now, Khachanov will be very determined to come out here strongly in Dubai. Khachanov lives here and he trains on these courts during the off-season. Karen is great in these conditions, and I am sure he will be very confident throughout the tournament. Will Karen come out here strongly and get himself involved in the later rounds of the tournament?
Karen Khachanov and Alexei Popyrin have never met before. This will be their first encounter, and I am sure it will be a very exciting and tough match to call. Both players have big serves, and massive forehands. However, one player has much more experience at the top of the game and thrives in these conditions. That is Karen Khachanov. Khachanov loves these conditions, lives here, and knows the speed of the court. Alexei Popyrin, although he has gotten one match under his belt, will need to play some of his best tennis if he wants to get anything out of this match. I expect a tight 2-set victory for Karen Khachanov coming into this one, but I wouldn’t be shocked if it does go to 3 sets.
Free Tennis Pick and Prediction: Karen Khachanov to win.