Just four men are still in the hunt at the ATP Moscow Cup ahead of semifinals day. Two are flying the flag for Russia, whilst another is a two-time champion at this event. All will no doubt be desperate to reach the final? But who will come out on top?
ATP Moscow Semifinal Predictions
Ricardas Berankis vs Marin Cilic
Head-to-head: Cilic 1-0 Berankis
Marin Cilic may not be the force he once was, but the Croatian has found a rich vein of form this week. He opened his campaign at the ATP Moscow Cup against Damir Dzumhur and, after dropping a close first set in a tiebreak, dominated the final two sets to score a 6-7 6-1 6-1 win. He backed that up by beating Tommy Paul of the USA 7-5 6-3 to set up a quarterfinal-clash with Pedro Martinez. It proved to be a very comfortable day at the office for Cilic as he ran out a 6-1 6-2 winner.
Ricardas Berankis, meanwhile, fell just short in the final round of qualifying, losing to Borna Gojo in three sets before being handed a reprieve as a lucky loser. He has taken full advantage. He thrashed home hope Evgeny Donskoy in the first round of the main draw before scoring an equally dominant win over Federico Coria of Argentina. Adrian Mannarino offered slightly more resistance in the quarterfinals, but Berankis was still largely untroubled in winning 6-2 7-6.
Will he be able to contain Cilic so easily? It does not look likely. The Croatian has weapons that none of Berankis’ previous opponents in Moscow have possessed, with Cilic’s serve and forehand a particularly formidable one-two punch. Berankis has quality of his own, including an excellent return of serve, and he troubled Cilic in their only previous meeting, taking him the distance at Wimbledon in 2015. But there as now, Cilic’s power should ultimately be the difference.
Prediction: Cilic in 3
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Karen Khachanov vs Aslan Karatsev
Head-to-head: Khachanov 4-1 Karatsev
One suspects that this will be the main event of the day as far as the Moscow crowd are concerned. Aslan Karatsev, the second seed, has made light work of his first two opponents – Egor Gerasimov and Gilles Simon – beating both for the loss of only seven games. Third seed Karen Khachanov has not found things quite so straightforward, with the Russian having to dig deep to get past a spirited James Duckworth and then John Millman.
Unsurprisingly, this pair know each other’s games well. This will be their sixth meeting (third at tour-level) in a rivalry that Khachanov has very much had the better of, though it would probably be going too far to say that he has dominated his countryman. Khachanov won their first two encounters in straight sets at Challenger-level in Istanbul and Jonkoping, both on hard courts, but Karatsev avenged those defeats with a 6-3 6-3 win in the quarterfinals at the Kazan Challenger.
They have since met twice on the main tour over the last two seasons, with Khachanov winning both matches. But neither victory has been straightforward for the former-world #8. And given how well Karatsev has been playing so far at the ATP Moscow Cup, Khachanov looks to be in for a difficult day at the office. In truth, Khachanov has not quite convinced this week, as he has not quite convinced for much of this season. Expect Karatsev to prove too strong for his compatriot.
Prediction: Karatsev in 2
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