World No. 17 Karen Khachanov faces off against wild card Aslan Karatsev in this second round fixture of the 2020 St. Petersburg Open. The match is scheduled to begin at around 6:30 pm local time (4:30 pm BST or 11:30 am Eastern Time) on Thursday, October 15. Get the live streaming options of this Khachanov v Karatsev match along with its preview, head to head, and tips here.
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Karen Khachanov v Aslan Karatsev Head to Head
This will be the fourth meeting between the two players, and the first in the past four years.
Karen Khachanov brings a 2-1 head-to-head advantage coming into this match. He won their first head-to-head in a 2015 Istanbul Challenger, that win on a hard court paving his way to a winners medal.
His other victory over Karatsev came in 2016 where he bettered him in straight sets in The Jonkoping Challenger on an indoor hard court.
Karatsev got his revenge 11 days later in The Kazan Challenger, winning in straight sets on an indoor hard court as well. They haven’t played against each other since that last match, which was in March 2016.
Khachanov With an Outside Chance for the Title
Seeded fourth in the tournament, Khachanov’s chances of winning the tournament will be higher than most. He showed that intent with a good start to the tournament, beating James Duckworth in straight sets and will be hoping to achieve a similar result when he clashes with his Russian Compatriot.
He’s got several things going his way. Despite his poor end of year form from 2019 that has popped up many times this year, he’s still ranked 17th in the ATP rankings. His opponent is ranked outside the top 100, a 99-position difference between them.
Additionally, he’s facing off against a wild card who’s playing in his first ATP 500 tournament, while he’s not only played in numerous top tier tournament levels , but won four ATP singles titles as well, his highlight being a Paris Masters win.
Despite that, he’s never made it past the second round of the St. Petersburg Open in four attempts and is still yet to win an ATP 500 tournament. Add that to the fact that it’s been two years since he last won a singles title, all that will surely ignite a spark and make him want to prove his true worth in this tournament.
He’d have been a definite shoo-in to at least reach the latter stages, but his patchy form in 2019 and 2020 has raised a few eyebrows. The best way to mute those dissenters would be with a good performance in this tournament, carrying on from his first round win with a superb second-round display.
Next in his path is a lowly-ranked wild card, but one who has already shown that he’s anything but an underdog.
Karatsev Raring for Another Upset
Karatsev showed that rankings mean nothing when he beat Tennys Sandgren in the first round, causing one of the many unanticipated upsets.
He managed to recover the first set from set point, a set that he had dominated early on but had let slip, and won the tie in a similarly entertaining third set that was end-to-end tennis at its finest.
He’ll be hoping that such breaks come his way as he finds himself in a David v Goliath situation once again, although this time comparing his chances to David’s would be understating the seemingly insurmountable task he has at hand.
The Russian can still boast of the fact that he beat Khachanov in their last head to head 4 years ago, that he also statistically fares better on hard surfaces, and that he’s had a good year with performances that have seen him reach finals in four challenger tournaments, two of which he eventually won.
Those, however, seem like the only positives he’s still going to have after the match.
Khachanov v Karatsev Prediction and Tip
As many prior first-round upsets have already shown, no tie is ever too straightforward to call. This, however, seems as though it will be a relatively easy prediction. Khachanov has a great desire to not only rectify his form but to add to his four singles titles.
Matches like these should, therefore, be the ones that help him rectify his shaky form and build the confidence he needs to challenge Daniil Medvedev for top honors. If he’s surely aiming for gold, he’ll conjure up a title-challenging display that may weaken Karatsev’s resolve early on.
Tip: Khachanov to win in straight sets: 4/6 (bet365)