ATP St Petersburg Day 4 Predictions Including Marin Cilic vs Karen Khachanov

Mackenzie McDonald in action ahead of the ATP St Petersburg Open.
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There should be plenty of entertaining tennis on day four at the ATP St Petersburg Open with five intriguing second-round matches on the schedule in Russia’s second city. Every player left in the draw has plenty still to play for as the season draws to a close, but who will secure their place in the quarterfinals and who will fall to defeat?

ATP St Petersburg Day 4 Predictions

John Millman vs Aslan Karatsev

Head-to-head: first meeting

Aslan Karatsev has not been one of the ATP Tour’s most consistent performers this season, but when he has been on song he has been a hard man to stop – as the rest of the field discovered last week in Moscow. Now the Russian will be looking to get off to a winning start at the ATP St Petersburg Open up against Australia’s John Millman. Millman has had a difficult season, as have several of his compatriots, but he has been ranked as high as world #33 for a reason.

He covers the court very well and although he is not one of the tour’s biggest hitters, his forehand does pack a punch. That said, it looks like a tall order for him to go toe-to-toe with Karatsev and come out on top, with the Russian likely to pose a significantly tougher test than Millman’s first-round opponent – the Israeli wildcard Yshai Oliel. Ultimately, Karatsev has simply been the better player of the two this season by a distance and that should be borne out here.

Prediction: Karatsev in 2
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Botic van de Zandschulp vs Sebastian Korda

Head-to-head: first meeting

After excelling at Roland Garros and Wimbledon, Sebastian Korda’s momentum stalled over the last weeks of the summer and into the early autumn, though that was not entirely his fault as he struggled with injuries. Nor should too much be read into those struggles, he is set to end the season ranked inside the top 40 after all, a very impressive achievement for a player who only turned 21 in July. In fact, a top 30 finish is not entirely out of the question for the American.

But if he is to find a way past US Open quarterfinalist Botic van de Zandschulp, he will probably need to play better than he did in his 7-6 7-5 win over Serbia’s Nino Serdarusic. Particularly because the Dutchman looked very assured in beating Yoshihito Nishioka in his opener at the ATP St Petersburg Open. Korda is probably the better player of the two, but van de Zandschulp has the wind in his sails and is playing with real confidence. That should give him a decisive edge here.

Prediction: van de Zandschulp in 2
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Taylor Fritz vs Tommy Paul

Head-to-head: Paul 2-1 Fritz

Although this will be the fourth meeting of their careers overall, it is somewhat surprising that it is will be their first at tour-level and their first at any level since 2017. But there will be few secrets between the pair who are also playing doubles together this week. It is Fritz who is in the better shape on the single’s court, with the Californian having arrived in St Petersburg fresh from reaching the semifinals in Indian Wells and he maintained that fine form by dismissing Emil Ruusuvuori 6-1 6-4 in his opener this week.

Paul made an equally assured start to his campaign, however, by beating Pedro Martinez 6-3 6-2. He also has a game well-suited to indoor hard-court tennis thanks to his powerful serve and forehand. But although he is the bigger hitter of the two, his advantage in that respect is marginal and, crucially, his backhand is notably weaker than Fritz’s. In a match which looks as close as this one on paper, expect that to prove the difference.

Prediction: Fritz in 3
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Marin Cilic vs Karen Khachanov

Head-to-head: Cilic 1-0 Khachanov

When this pair last met in 2018 in Cincinnati, Marin Cilic, then unquestionably one of the world’s best, won a thriller in the round of 16 against a rising star in Karen Khachanov who would go on to win the ATP Paris Masters later that season. Since then, both men have struggled to stay at the top of the game. Cilic, in particular, has suffered a bruising fall from grace and currently finds himself ranked outside the top 30, 32 places down from his career-high of world #3.

Khachanov, meanwhile, has been surpassed by many of his contemporaries. But both found a measure of form last week in Moscow, with Khachanov reaching the last four and Cilic the final, with both losing out to Aslan Karatsev. Both bounced back from that defeat with solid opening wins in St Petersburg and this looks to have the makings of a close match. But the quick indoor conditions probably favour Cilic, if only marginally, and that may well be enough to see the 33-year-old into the quarterfinals.

Prediction: Cilic in 3
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Roberto Bautista Agut vs Mackenzie McDonald

Head-to-head: Bautista Agut 1-0 McDonald

Roberto Bautista Agut is one of several players to have benefitted significantly from the rankings freeze, with the Spaniard still (just about) a top-20 player despite a season that has fallen some way below the high standards he has set of late. Mackenzie McDonald, meanwhile, continues to struggle for consistency over the course of a season, but the American, still just 26, looks to have a bright future in the men’s game and made a good start to his week in St Petersburg by beating Egor Gerasimov in straight-sets.

One suspects that he might finds thing a little tougher up against Bautista Agut, however. The Spaniard may not have been at his best this season, but he still covers the court superbly and can generate surprising penetration with both his forehand and, to a lesser extent, his backhand. McDonald moves well too, but he does not have the same sort of reliable weaponry as Bautista Agut. Expect that to give the third seed a decisive advantage here.

Prediction: Bautista Agut in 3

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