TennisSection previews the 2022 Rotterdam Open as Karen Khachanov takes on Alexei Popyrin in the first round on Tuesday, February 8th, 2022.
Karen Khachanov is a quintessential player in an indoor hard court. But he could be pushed hard by Alexei Popyrin, who like the Russian, thrives in these conditions. The Aussie has been slow off the blocks this year and is seeking just his second win of 2022 at the Rotterdam Open.
Three of Karen Khachanov’s four career titles have been won on the indoor hard courts. That includes the biggest win of his career at the Paris Masters in 2018. Khachanov came close to ending his title-drought earlier this year when he lost in the final of the Adelaide 1 Open to Gael Monfils. Although he did not add to his title tally, Khachanov is on the move in the ATP rankings. His goal is to return to the world’s top 10 by the end of the year, and there is every chance he will get there should he maintain a decent spell of good health and consistent results. He is 6-3 for the season, and is a perennial danger at the Rottterdam Open.
Alexei Popyrin, meanwhile, is enduring a barren spell on the ATP tour in 2022. Popyrin was expected to kick on from a productive 2021 season which yielded a maiden ATP title in Singapore. He ascended to a career-high ranking of No. 59. But things have gone awry since the turn of the year. The 22-year-old Sydney native has picked up one win in five main draw matches. It would take an extraordinary performance from Popyrin to turn his fortunes around against Karen Khachanov at the Rotterdam Open.
Karen Khachanov leads Alexei Popyrin 1-0 in their head-to-head. It was first-round match in Dubai which was won by the Russian in three sets. Both players hit big and their ability to generate pace off the ground is an area of strength. Popyrin, however, is coming into the Rotterdam Open with his confidence shattered. Unless Khachanov completely capitulates, it is tough to see the man from Sydney getting anything from this match.
Free Tennis Pick and Prediction: Karen Khachanov in 2 Sets.
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