An exciting week of ATP tennis continues on Day 4 in Moscow as the field is narrowing. Who will rise to the occasion and who will fall short? Read on for my best guesses.
ATP Moscow Day 4 Predictions
Filip Krajinovic vs Pedro Martinez
Head to Head: never played
Filip Krajinovic had a good win over Marcos Giron in Indian Wells and in his last indoor hard-court tournament in Sofia, he made the semifinals. His clean groundstrokes and baseline capabilities make him tough to play on indoor hard. Pedro Martinez did well to beat Guido Pella in the first round in Moscow, although it was via retirement. The Spaniard won 75% of his first-serve points and held Pella to 43% of his service points won.
These two have never played before. Krajinovic is much more comfortable than Martinez on indoor hard and has a much better understanding of how to play on the surface. His ability to play offense and press on hard courts is much more refined than Martinez and he should be able to get through this match with ease.
Prediction: Krajinovic in 2
Ricardas Berankis vs Federico Coria
Head to Head: never played
Ricardas Berankis got into the main draw as a lucky loser and took good advantage of the opportunity, beating Evgeny Donskoy 6-1 6-3 in the first round. Berankis won 86% of his first serves and only got broken once, while Donskoy won only 26% of his second serves during the mathc. Federico Coria beat wild card Alibek Kachmazov in three sets. The fact that Kachmazov was able to get a set off of Coria shows how uncomfortable Coria is on indoor hard and is a worrying sign for this match.
These two have never played before. Berankis is much more comfortable on this surface and Coria did not have a great showing in his first match. Berankis is able to play aggressive tennis on hard courts and will control the baseline, making Coria play a ton of defense on a surface he’s not great on. If Berankis can serve close to as well as he did in the previous round against Donskoy, he will also not allow Coria many looks on his serve and, given Coria’s serve is not great, the Argentinian will be relying on breaks to stay in this match. Expect Berankis to have a comfortable victory here.
Prediction: Berankis in 2
Egor Gerasimov vs Aslan Karatsev
Head to Head: tied 2-2 (non-exhibitions)
Egor Gerasimov won a very close match against Miomir Kecmanovic to set up this showdown with Karatsev. Gerasimov saved two break points at *4-4 in the third set and then broke to win the match in the next game. Aslan Karatsev has slowed down since his terrific start to the season, but with the home crowd behind him and his huge serve and groundstrokes in the indoor conditions, he will still be dangerous this week. Karatsev managed to win a couple matches in Indian Wells, including beating Denis Shapovalov.
The head to head is tied 2-2 in non-exhibitions (Karatsev won a pandemic exhibition between the two), but Karatsev won both matches this season, including a beatdown at the Australian Open. While Karatsev is not playing nearly as well as he did at the beginning of the season, he still does everything a little bit better than Gerasimov. Gerasimov has a good serve and can ramp up the pace on his groundstrokes, but Karatsev’s serve and especially his forehand should be able to control the baseline and make things tough on Gerasimov. This match will be close, but with the crowd behind him, expect Karatsev to win.
Prediction: Karatsev in 3
Mackenzie McDonald vs Gilles Simon
Head to Head: tied 1-1
Mackenzie McDonald had a strong start to his Moscow campaign, beating Yoshihito Nishioka in straight sets. McDonald won 67% of his service points and was only broken once during the match.Gilles Simon won a physical match with Laslo Djere in the first round, coming from a set down to win the match in three sets. Simon won 75% of his first serves and won 54% of the points on Djere’s second serve, breaking Djere four times during the match.
The head to head is tied 1-1, with Simon winning the only indoor hard-court matchup, having beaten McDonald in straight sets during the 2018 Antwerp tournament. Both players are much different than during that 2018 match, as McDonald is much improved while Simon is finishing out his career. Simon is very consistent from the baseline, but has been struggling to maintain control of the baseline and has been overpowered in recent months. McDonald has easy power and is controlling his aggressive groundstrokes very well. Expect McDonald to win this one without too many problems.
Prediction: McDonald in 2
Adrian Mannarino vs Andrey Rublev
Head to Head: 1-0 Rublev
Adrian Mannarino survived a tough match against Roman Saffiulin, coming back from a set down and saving a match point along the way. Mannarino only won 42% of his second-serve points, a number he will need to improve against a player of the caliber of Rublev. Andrey Rublev is playing his first match in Moscow. Rublev, a Russian, will have the crowd on his side during this match.
Rublev leads the head to head 1-0, having beaten Mannarino in Moscow two years ago in straight sets. Mannarino’s flat serve and groundstrokes will make things tricky for Rublev, but the sheer force of the Russian’s groundstrokes and his ability to hit with so much power, yet with remarkable control, make him the clear man to beat in this matchup. Expect Rublev to have a comfortable victory over Mannarino.
Prediction: Rublev in 2
Main Photo from Getty.