The very surprising final at the ATP Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships between Russian Aslan Karatsev and South African Lloyd Harris is sure to be a treat for tennis fans. Harris had to qualify to reach the main draw, while Karatsev is unseeded and was awarded a wild card into the tournament. Both pulled off massive upsets in their respective semifinal matches. Harris continued his brilliant run by topping the young Canadian star Denis Shapovalov, while Karatsev beat his countryman Andrey Rublev, who has been one of the top players on tour over the last year.
ATP Dubai Final Prediction
Aslan Karatsev vs Lloyd Harris
Head-to-head: first meeting
Neither player brings much experience to this match. This will be the first ATP final for either player while they both have three Challenger Tour titles. Harris has a much better Challenger finals record at 3-1 to Karatsev’s 3-5. Though Karatsev became known to many with his semifinal run at the Australian Open, he has been playing excellent tennis for the past year or so after having a journeyman career until recently. He holds an incredible 11-2 record in 2021 with his only two losses to Dominic Thiem and Novak Djokovic, the two most recent Major champions. He has secured four victories over Top 25 players and looks like one of the best players on tour.
Harris is much more of a surprise to be in this position, but he found his game this week and looks nearly unbeatable. After breezing through his two qualifying matches, he beat top seed Dominic Thiem in straight sets and proceeded to top Kei Nishikori and Shapovalov en route to the final. He made waves last week with a win over Stan Wawrinka in Doha, but that was his only Top 100 win of the year. It comes down to a player in Harris–who is free swinging and has been beating everything in his path this week–and a player in Karatsev who for weeks has been one of the toughest opponents in tennis. Though this is his first final, Karatsev is more experienced in big matches. He also has the physical edge with Harris playing two extra matches in qualifying. Overall, Karatsev has shown hardly any reason why he should lose against almost any player. His game and fitness will give him the edge to prevail and win his first ATP title.
Prediction: Karatsev in 2
Main Photo from Getty.