ATP Moscow Final Prediction: Marin Cilic vs Aslan Karatsev

Aslan Karatsev in action at the ATP Moscow Cup.

The 2021 ATP Kremlin Cup crown will be up for grabs on Sunday when the ATP’s breakout star Aslan Karatsev locks horns against Marin Cilic in the championship in Moscow. Can Karatsev clinch his second title of the year? Or will Cilic add to his two trophies won on these parts? Here is what we think about the Kremlin Cup final.

ATP Moscow Final Prediction

Marin Cilic vs Aslan Karatsev

Head-to-head: Karatsev 0-1 Cilic

What a story this has been for Aslan Karatsev. 14 months agom the 28-year-old was virtually on the fringes of the main tour. But he has risen to become the toast of Russian tennis. Regardless of Sunday’s result, Karatsev is set to make his Top 20 debut next week. That is quite a feat considering he was outside the world’s Top 200 at this stage last season.

However, since the beginning of the grass-court season up until Indian Wells, Karatsev has posted a fairly pedestrian 8-9 win/loss record. One of those defeats was at the hands of Marin Cilic in the first round of the Cincinnati Masters. But Karatsev has run the table in Moscow and reached his third final of the year after dismissing compatriot Karen Khachanov in straight sets.

Cilic, for his part, has found a different gear this week. This is the best we have seen of the big-hitting Croat since he captured his 19th career title on the lawns of Stuttgart. The 33-year-old has looked frenetic and played with high intensity in his stay in Moscow. Victories over the likes of Tommy Paul and Pedro Martinez were surprisingly recorded at a canter. On Saturday he made light work of Ricardas Berankis in the semifinals. He broke the Lithuanian three times from eight opportunities and tallied 82% first-serve points won. Can the former World No. 3 become a three-time champion of the Kremlin Cup on Sunday?

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Cilic has hammered a total of 53 aces in four matches this week. His first delivery has been a destructive weapon in sweeping all those in front of him. But this will likely change Sunday. Karatsev will pry his way into points with his remarkable length off the return. The Croat’s second serve is certainly an area of weakness that could be fully exploited by a player of Karatsev’s caliber. Plus, when the Russian second seed injects pace into his shots, the ball rarely comes back.

While there is no denying Cilic has played some decent tennis this week, Karatsev has waited patiently for these big moments pretty much his entire career. I expect him to round off this stellar season with a second ATP title.
Prediction: Karatsev in 3

Main Photo from Getty.

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