Ever since the draw of the ATP St. Petersburg Open was made last week, Russia’s man of the moment and the new World No.4 Daniil Medvedev was a name the locals were looking to see with genuine interest. The US Open finalist will have a battle in his hands when he faces countryman Evgeny Donskoy.
The likes of Borna Coric, Karen Khachanov and US Open semifinalist Matteo Berrettini will also be in action in a jam-packed Day four in St. Petersburg.
ATP St. Petersburg Open Day 4 Predictions
Borna Coric vs Marton Fucsovics
Head-To-Head: Coric 1-0 Fucsovics
Borna Coric had a short-lived stay in New York after he was forced to pull out from the final Major of the year due to back injury. The Croat was scheduled to play Grigor Dimitrov in the second round, but his withdrawal meant that he failed to conjure up back-to-back wins since Halle.
Coric has endured a tumultuous year by his standards after a promising start to 2019 where he reached the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the first time at the Australian Open and the semifinals in Dubai . The 22-year-old hasn’t lived up to the thrills of his 2018 season when he won the biggest title of his career in Halle, beating Roger Federer in the final and then playing an instrumental role in Croatia’s Davis Cup win over France. He failed to defend his title in Halle where he retired injured in the last eight and then subsequently pulled out of Wimbledon due to an abdominal issue. In the midst of his injury troubles, Coric ended his long-term partnership with coach Riccardo Piatti with whom they have been together since 2017. Can he earn a confidence-boosting win in his first outing in St. Petersburg?
Marton Fucsovics will fancy his chances of beating the Croat to a pulp in this one. Although the Hungarian’s excellent early season form faded, he is playing Coric at quite possibly the right time. Low in confidence, a potential recurrence of back injury, and struggling for match wins, it looks like Coric’s season might suffer another dip before it gets better.
Prediction: Fucsovics in 3
Matteo Berrettini vs Roberto Carballes Baena
Head-To-Head: First meeting
Matteo Berrettini’s astonishing run to the semifinals of the US Open was one of the great Grand Slam Cinderella stories. He became the first Italian man to reach the final four at Flushing Meadows in 42 years. That historic run capped off what has been a sensational season for the powerful Italian who has won titles in Budapest and Stuttgart along with a fourth round showing at Wimbledon.
Berrettini though will need to be at his fluent best against the battling baseliner Roberto Carballes Baena who knocked out Martin Klizan in the first round. Given the enormous amount of confidence that the third seed brings from New York and in conditions that should suit his aggressive game style, he should be good enough to get past the Spaniard.
Prediction: Berrettini in 3
Karen Khachanov vs Joao Sousa
Head-To-Head: Khachanov 1-0 Sousa
World No.9 Karen Khachanov will have ranking targets in his mind and make up for his indifferent 2019 season. After claiming three titles last year, including the Rolex Paris Masters in November, Khachanov came within a whisker of making it to London and was first alternate at the season-ending championships. But this year he has fallen down the pecking order and is a long way behind in the ATP Race To London sitting at No.19, but he could reignite his interest if he can win the title this weekend in his home country. The Russian headlines the bottom quarter of the draw and will look to bounce back from a disappointing first round loss to Vasek Pospisil at the US Open when he opens up against Portugal’s Joao Sousa. Both these players have had their fair share of problems and neither has looked entirely convincing at the US Open. But Khachanov will be buoyed to get a win infront of his crowd and given the sheer power he brings to the table, he should overwhelm Sousa.
Prediction: Khachanov in 2
Daniil Medvedev vs Evgeny Donskoy
Head-To-Head: Medvedev 1-0 Donskoy
Over three months ago, Daniil Medvedev was mired in a five-match losing streak. But he will walk into St. Petersburg in the form of his life. Medvedev won a remarkable 20 out of 23 matches during the North American hard-court swing – a feat Rafael Nadal acknowledged during the US Open championship ceremony as one of the best he has ever seen. It was the Spaniard whom Medvedev fought tirelessly for five hours in a US Open classic, but succumbed in five sets to tennis’ ultimate marathon man.
Daniil Medvedev would have been better off skipping St. Petersburg especially with a busy schedule around the corner. He is due to play in Tokyo at the end of the month where he will attempt to defend his crown, and his career-best season has catapulted him to a maiden appearance at the Nitto ATP Finals in November. With that said, I still feel he will be re-energized to have another solid week of tennis, starting with a win over fellow countryman Donskoy.
Prediction: Medvedev in 2