Karen Khachanov vs Taylor Fritz - Shanghai Masters - Round of 32 - Preview and Prediction
The two giants of the world, Russia and America have a historic rivalry. Two exciting Next-Gen players, Karen Khachanov and Taylor Fritz will look to continue that by scripting their own story as they clash in the round of 32 in Shanghai today.
22-year old Khachanov has been showing why he is a dangerous player on hard-courts with his recent performances. With insane court coverage and powerful groundstrokes, the World number 9 is in good touch.
The seventh seed shone at the recently concluded China Open, reaching the semifinals. He defeated Uruguayan, Pablo Cuevas, and Frenchman, Jeremy Chardy in straight sets in the Round of 32 and 16 respectively.
The quarter-final was a classic as Khachanov outlasted World number 12, Fabio Fognini, in three sets. After losing the first set 6-3, the Russian attacked relentlessly to win the next two sets 6-3, 6-1. "Baby Safin", as he is fondly called, put up a great fight in the semifinals, losing to eventual champion, Dominic Thiem, in a close three-setter.
Khachanov showed his versatility as he partnered compatriot, Andrey Rublev to reach the men's doubles semifinals in the China Open before losing to the second seeds, Lukas Kubot and Marcelo Melo, 7-5, 7-5.
Though the Russian will be tired after reaching two semifinals in the singles and doubles of the China Open, he will still be raring to go and make a deep run in this competitive tournament. Fritz will be fresher, however, as he played his last match on Sunday.
On the other hand, Fritz has not had a great year with multiple first-round exits in the top tournaments. He has made good progress of late as he looks to end the season on a high.
Though he lost early against Alexander Bublik in the round of 32 in the Chengdu Open, he made up for that early exit by reaching the doubles semifinals partnering fellow countryman, Nicholas Monroe.
The Japan Open was not kind to Fritz as the big-server, Reilly Opelka, took him down 6-3, 6-4. The 21-year-old performed poorly with a low first-serve percentage of 55%.
The World number 29 showed immense control of nerves in the round of 64 as he ousted Spanish veteran, Fernando Verdasco 7-6 6-7 6-4 to enter the second round. The last time, Fritz had crossed the second round was when he finished as the runner-up in the Los Cabos Open in August.
Khachanov and Fritz have never clashed with each other before and that would make this match thrilling as well as unpredictable.
Prediction - Karen Khachanov to win in three sets
Cover Image Credits - oddspedia.com