The remaining second-round matches at the ATP Kremlin Cup will be played on Day 4 in Moscow. Thrilling three-set matches have been the common theme on Day 3. Will there be more of the same to come?
All four men’s matches on Day 4 are previewed below:
Jeremy Chardy vs Miomir Kecmanovic
Head-to-Head: No previous meetings
Both men have made serene progress through to the second round of the ATP Kremlin Cup in Moscow. Chardy was a very comfortable winner against the Chilean Nicolas Jarry, whilst Kecmanovic beat the qualifier Artem Dubrivnyy in straight sets.
It would be fair to say that currently, the career trajectories of this pair are heading in different directions. Chardy, having spent a year inside the world’s Top 50, now sits outside it at #71 after an average year. The 20-year-old Serbian, however, has risen through the ranks, having been an outstanding junior, and now ranks fiftieth in the world. Kecmanovic just needs a maiden ATP title to make his mark on the tour, having already made a final on the grass in Antalya.
It is the Frenchman though who carries the much more impressive form into this clash. Since the US Open he has beaten the likes of Dan Evans and Kyle Edmund, whilst only losing to quality players Alexander Zverev and Karen Khachanov in four sets all decided by a tiebreak. Meanwhile, Kecmanovic’s victory over Dubrivnyy in round one was his first (in a completed match) since Flushing Meadows.
It is this chasm in form that gives Chardy the edge in this first career meeting between the pair. Kecmanovic will undoubtedly have his day, but it may not be in this tournament.
Prediction: Chardy in 2
Egor Gerasimov vs Andrey Rublev
Head-to-Head: Gerasimov 1-0 Rublev
The hometown boy finally got his first win in his home tournament in the last round against Alexander Bublik. He did it the hard way, though, and probably could have done with saving some energy if he has aspirations of taking the tournament win.
Gerasimov, on the other hand, was a comfortable straight-sets winner over Thomas Fabbiano in the first round. The Belarussian continued his good form by sending down 11 aces and achieving an incredibly high first-serve percentage of 82% in the win over the Italian.
The previous meeting between this pair was also at this tournament, but way back in 2013. At the time Rublev was only 15-years-old, so nothing can really be read into that match. Taking hints from current form then Gerasimov is currently pushing his best-ever ATP ranking and has outstanding statistics on indoor hard in the last twelve months. Rublev is the higher-ranked player, but he will be under serious threat and will need to be on his game to repel the challenge.
If Gerasimov is able to keep up the high first-serve percentage then he should make a third ATP quarterfinal appearance in two months.
Prediction: Gerasimov in 3
Nikola Milojevic vs Alen Avidzba
Head-to-Head: No previous meetings
It would be fair to say that Nikola Milojevic did well to enter qualifying here. He lost his second round qualifying match to Lukas Rosol but got the luckiest of lucky loser spots after #1 Daniil Medvedev withdrew. Milojevic will finally take to the court on Day 4, where he plays a rookie 19-year-old playing only his second ATP tour level match. It would appear that the Serbian has played all his lucky cards all at once.
Avidzba struggled past his 17-year-old countryman Kachmazov in Round 1. Despite dominating the first and last sets, he allowed the junior to battle hard to take the middle set 6-4. The fact that Avidzba allowed this to happen doesn’t bode well for this step up in class.
Although Milojevic hasn’t been in good form this is still a very favourable match-up for him. There are more than 300 places in the rankings between the pair and although Avidzba will have home advantage it would be a surprise if he could harness that enough to take victory here.
Prediction: Milojevic in 2
Marin Cilic vs Ivo Karlovic
Head-to-Head: Cilic 3-3 Karlovic
This big serving pair have played at least one tiebreak in every completed match they have played. What’s more, is that whoever won the tiebreak also won the match. Therefore, picking the winner out of this match-up is always particularly difficult.
Marin Cilic has had a disappointing year by his standards. It was less than two years ago that he broke into the top three in the ATP rankings. This came off the back of Grand Slam finals at Wimbledon and in Australia. Unbelievably, there have only been two quarterfinal appearances all season for the Croatian, he hasn’t even got close to winning a title.
Ivo Karlovic was another player who only survived Round 1 by the narrowest of margins. He faced match point against Aljaz Bedene in a third set tiebreak, but negotiated that to find himself facing a fellow countryman.
Over the past year Karlovic is the player with the better tiebreak win percentage (50% vs 55%). This stat alone just tips the balance in favor of the 40-year-old.
Prediction: Karlovic in 3
Main Photo from Getty.