TennisSection previews the 2021 Toronto Open as Aslan Karatsev takes on Karen Khachanov in the Round of 32 on Wednesday, August 11th, 2021.
Will Aslan Karatsev get back to winning ways? Will Karen Khachanov continue playing some solid tennis? This match will be a very interesting one, where we have powerful Russians clashing for a spot in the next round. Who will move on to the Round of 16 at the 2021 Toronto Open?
Aslan Karatsev as we know, is one of the tennis stories of the year, having broken through after being a nobody in the tennis world for quite some time. He has a very balanced game, particularly relying on his powerful aggressive groundstrokes to power through opponents. He’s going up against another powerful Russian in Karen Khachanov, who just made a great run to the silver medal at the Olympics. It’s an interesting matchup for sure and can go either way depending on the day, in this instance, however, you’d expect Karatsev to come up short against Khachanov, just considering recent form, but you should never be so sure when you have such an interesting matchup. While they are both huge hitters, Karatsev is more mobile and aggressive, while Khachanov can be described more as a tank, less mobile but a huge hitter who loves to rip balls from the center of the court, not necessarily all over the place though as Aslan can. I think Aslan actually matches up quite well against Khachanov, just because his balls are so fast and spread around the court, making it tough for Khachanov to be able to get into the position to attack him. However, if Aslan isn’t on, or if some of his shots just aren’t as consistent, then Khachanov will take advantage of that and come out on top, as Karatsev just isn’t as consistent in terms of results overall.
Karen Khachanov, as I mentioned before, is less mobile and more of a stationary power hitter, this however does not mean he can’t move at all. In fact, for his height he’s a rather good mover, this still doesn’t change that he isn’t the best possible match-up for Karatsev though. Khachanov struggled prior to Wimbledon this year, and one of the biggest reasons for that was his service, his serve simply wasn’t consistent enough, and for his game, it’s imperative that it is, and if his serve shows those weaknesses again, it will be obliterated by Aslan who is one of the best returners on tour, and the best aggressive returner on tour at the moment. Karen also isn’t known for his return, so it’ll be hard for him to get into too many Karatsev service games unless Aslan plays a bad game, which is entirely possible as he hasn’t been playing as well lately as he was earlier on in the year. Even still, in my mind, Khachanov isn’t the best match-up for Karatsev, so I do think he’ll struggle tomorrow to be able to play his game, as Aslan will apply the pressure continues to try and secure himself a spot in the Round of 16 at the 2021 Toronto Open.
Aslan Karatsev and Karen Khachanov have met once before, with Karen Khachanov leading the head to head 1-0. Now, despite what I said earlier, Khachanov has won their only meeting. This however doesn’t really mean much, as he narrowly won against Aslan while he was not playing nearly as well as he is now in 2020. So, while Khachanov should feel confident in every match he plays considering the results he’s had as of late, I do think this match favors and will go the way of the higher ranked player, Aslan Karatsev, his fast mobile and spread out groundstrokes will pull Khachanov off and back behind the court, allowing Aslan to really attack him and put him away to move on to the Round of 16 at the 2021 Toronto Open.
Free Tennis Pick and Prediction: Aslan Karatsev to win.
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