Wednesday’s ATP matches in St Petersburg feature a number of intriguing matchups. Andrey Rublev will be looking to put last week’s surprising opening round defeat in Moscow behind him, but he has a tough opening round opponent in Ilya Ivashka, who has had a breakout season on the ATP Tour. Elsewhere, last week’s finalist in Moscow, Marin Cilic will be looking to continue his good run of form as he takes on Albert Ramos Vinolas. Here are my predictions for all of Wednesday’s matches.
ATP St Petersburg Day 3 Predictions
Marin Cilic vs Albert Ramos Vinolas
Head to Head 5-3 Cilic
Marin Cilic reached the final in Moscow last week, a welcome return to the tour for the Croatian who has not played since a first round retirement at the US Open. The highlight of the Croat’s season so far was a title winning run in Stuttgart at the beginning of the grass court season. Cilic is still playing a high level of tennis, however at times he has had a tendency to leak unforced errors in tight situations in matches.
Albert Ramos-Vinolas recorded two impressive victories recently at Indian Wells, where he beat Lorenzo Musetti and Felix Auger-Aliassime. However, barring the clay court season, where the Spaniard won the title in Estoril and reached the semifinals in Marbella, Ramos Vinolas has struggled to make consistent runs in grass court and hard court events.
I do expect this to be a tight match, however I think Cilic will get the win in three sets, due to having more firepower and a bigger serve than the Spaniard.
Prediction: Cilic in 3
Pablo Andujar vs Denis Shapovalov
Head to Head: 1-0 Shapovalov
Denis Shapovalov is undoubtedly one of the most talented players in the game. However, it would be fair to say that the Canadian has somewhat underachieved so far on the ATP Tour. Apart from a run to the final in Geneva during the clay court season, Shapovalov has not been able to make another final at tour level this season which is surprising given his firepower and shot-making ability. At Wimbledon, he had a brilliant run to the semifinals, but is clear that the Canadian needs to improve his shot selection and tactical side of the game if he wants to be a regular winner on the ATP Tour.
Pablo Andujar produced two of the biggest upsets of the season during the clay court swing when he defeated Roger Federer in Geneva and Dominic Thiem in the opening round of Roland Garros. The Spaniard is playing this week using a protected ranking and is currently ranked at 92 in the world. Andujar reached the third round of the US Open and definitely has the tools in his game to trouble the Canadian.
However, I think Shapovalov’s game is more suited to the indoor conditions and I think he will get the win in two tight sets.
Prediction: Shapovalov in 2
Karen Khachanov vs Adrian Mannarino
Head to Head: 3-0 Khachanov
Karen Khachanov has had a solid 2021 season on the ATP Tour. The Russian won the Silver Medal at the Tokyo Olympics and also reached the quarterfinals of Wimbledon. Last week in Moscow, Khachanov made a run to the semifinals, so it is fair to say that he will be taking some confidence into this week. However, since winning the Paris Masters in 2018, the Russian has not made another singles final at tour level, which is surprising given the weapons and firepower he possesses.
Adrian Mannarino had a brilliant win over Andrey Rublev in Moscow last week, where the Frenchman came back from being down match-point in the second set. Mannarino took two sets off Roger Federer at Wimbledon this year and is primarily known for being a grass court specialist. However, he is an awkward player to play against on any surface and is difficult to punch holes through and when he is at his best, he very rarely leaks unforced errors.
I think this will be a close match that will go to three sets, however I think Khachanov will get the win due to being able to win more free points on his serve.
Prediction: Khachanov in 3
Alexander Bublik vs Jan-Lennard Struff
Head to Head: 1-0 Struff
This should be a very entertaining match between two players who are very evenly matched. Alexander Bublik is one of the sport’s great entertainers, and he possesses a huge amount of firepower and variety in his game. Bublik made the final of Antalya at the start of the season and quickly backed this performance up with a run to the final in Singapore. The Kazakh made two Masters 1,000 quarterfinals in Miami and Madrid. However, despite his amazing talent, there are some weeks and matches where he seems unfocused on the court and is effort has been questioned.
Jan-Lennard Struff has recorded some impressive wins this season, including a victory over Danil Medvedev in Halle and a win over Andrey Rublev in the opening round of Roland Garros, where he reached the fourth round. However, the German is a streaky player at times and struggles to consistently produce his best tennis on a weekly basis. Struff possesses one of the biggest forehands in the sport and has a great first serve, however his first serve percentage can let him down at times.
I think this will be another close match and I think Struff will get the win in three sets.
Prediction: Struff in 3
Ilya Ivashka vs Andrey Rublev
Head to Head: 1-0 Rublev
I think this is the most intriguing match of the day. Andrey Rublev has had another good season on the ATP Tour. The Russian won the ATP 500 in Rotterdam and beat Rafael Nadal in Monte Carlo en route to his first Masters 1,000 final. Rublev also made another Masters 1000 final in Cincinnati. However, there are still questions over the Russians inability to produce his best tennis at the grand slams.
Ilya Ivashka has had a breakout season on the ATP Tour. The Belorussian reached the fourth round of Wimbledon and won his first ATP Title in Winston Salem. Ivashka also reached the third round at the US Open. The Belorussian has an entertaining offensive game and has a powerful serve that enables him to win a lot of free points.
This promises to be a close match as both men possess a similar amount of firepower. Rublev had an early defeat last week in Moscow, so it will be interesting to see how the Russian responds. I think this will go to three sets, but I am predicting Ivashka to get the win.
Prediction: Ivashka in 3
Main Photo from Getty.