Thursday at the ATP St Petersburg Open was overshadowed by one huge upset. The top seed and the defending champion, Daniil Medvedev, was thrown out of the tournament by the big-serving Reilly Opelka. The draw is now a bit more wide open but many top-tier players remain with a shot at the title. Who do you think will make the final four?
ATP St Petersburg Open Quarterfinal Predictions
Cameron Norrie vs Andrey Rublev
Head-to-head: First meeting
Cameron Norrie has been really impressive this week so far, getting through Taylor Fritz and Miomir Kecmanovic in two slight upsets. The Brit’s unusual flat strokes seem very well suited to the slow indoor surface at St Petersburg. But while Norrie’s level has been quite good for his standards, it’s hard to look past Andrey Rublev here. The Russian has been in tremendous form all season long and even the pandemic break couldn’t stop him. The devastating power of his forehand is still there and while it may take some time to get used to Norrie’s strokes, the fire Rublev brings to the court will be too big to extinguish.
Prediction: Rublev in 2
Reilly Opelka vs Borna Coric
Head-to-head: Opelka 1-0
It’s hard to explain how Reilly Opelka is still in the tournament. First, he came back from a set down against Nino Serdarusic to win 3-6 7-6 6-2, blasting 26 aces. Down 2-6 to Daniil Medvedev, the top seed and defending champion, Opelka looked down and out. But somehow, the big-serving American raised his game and was able to snatch the win despite winning just one more point than Medvedev in both the second and the third set. His serve wasn’t really on fire in that one but he was able to pull out more from the baseline that it was expected. This big weapon of his can make any match close and his run doesn’t have to stop. The conditions in St Petersburg only make him even more dangerous. He should have a good chance to take down Coric’s defense.
Prediction: Opelka in 3
Karen Khachanov vs Milos Raonic
Head-to-head: First meeting
The Russian had to fight for the win against his compatriot, Aslan Karatsev. The slow indoor surface fits Karen Khachanov really well as he won his biggest title on it. But Milos Raonic has been a lot more impressive this week so far, dismantling dangerous opponents Jeffrey John Wolf and Alexander Bublik. He was also impressive in pressure moments, saving five set points in the opening set against Wolf. Raonic has some good tools to disrupt Khachanov’s rather linear hitting and he shouldn’t be overwhelmed by the Russian’s power.
Prediction: Raonic in 3
Denis Shapovalov vs Stan Wawrinka
This blockbuster clash of beautiful one-handed backhands will surely be great to watch. But who will win it? Predicting Stan Wawrinka is getting much tougher these days as the Swiss is getting extremely erratic and inconsistent in his results. The fifth seed saved three match points against Dan Evans in the opening round and was also taken to three by Evgeny Donskoy. Recently, Denis Shapovalov has been by far the more stable of the two. The Canadian is playing tennis with a lot more thought in it these days. He’s developed a more reliable plan B and in the long haul, he should be able to take this win here.
Prediction: Shapovalov in 3
Main Photo from Getty.