The second round will be completed on Thursday at the 2021 ATP St Petersburg Open. In the most exciting clash of the day, Marin Cilic takes on Karen Khachanov. Both players were only eliminated by the eventual champion Aslan Karatsev (also on Thursday’s schedule) in Moscow last week. Who do you think will make the quarterfinals?
ATP St Petersburg Day 4 Predictions
Aslan Karatsev vs John Millman
Head-to-head: First meeting
Aslan Karatsev was back to his form from the beginning of the season in Moscow, grabbing his 2nd ATP title without losing a set. The Russian has the punch to hit through the slow indoor hard conditions and impressed with his consistency off the baseline in that run. An opponent like John Millman will put that to another test. Karatsev had three days of rest between this match and the Moscow final though, and should be ready.
Prediction: Karatsev in 2
Botic van de Zandschulp vs Sebastian Korda
Head-to-head: First meeting
Even despite his US Open quarterfinal run, Botic van de Zandschulp still needs to play qualifying for some ATP events, including the St Petersburg Open which had a very high cut-off. The Dutchman has been in fine form though, only losing to Jenson Brooksby in Moscow in a match where he just had no idea how to hit through the youngster. Sebastian Korda plays a different brand of tennis and will try to take the initiative out of van de Zandschulp’s hands. With the American’s shaky form of late and potential inconsistencies on his forehand side, the Dutchman seems like a more reliable pick.
Prediction: van de Zandschulp in 3
Taylor Fritz vs Tommy Paul
Head-to-head: Paul 2-1
For Taylor Fritz, this is his first event since making the semifinals at Indian Wells–his best-ever run but also one to wonder about “what could have been.” The American comfortably dispatched Emil Ruusuvuori in the opening round and seems to be very high on confidence now. If his footwork is as good as it’s been recently, he should have more arguments than his compatriot here. It won’t be easy though as Tommy Paul produced a couple of great performances in the past couple of weeks.
Prediction: Fritz in 3
Mackenzie McDonald vs Roberto Bautista Agut
Head-to-head: Bautista Agut 1-0
Mackenzie McDonald should have a very decent shot at the upset here. The American can play some stellar attacking tennis indoors and he produced one of these performances that got him near the top 50 against Egor Gerasimov. Meanwhile, Roberto Bautista Agut has been mostly underwhelming of late. The Spaniard doesn’t go below a certain level though and it is still a very big ask for McDonald to defeat him here, one that he might just miss out on.
Prediction: Bautista Agut in 3
Marin Cilic vs Karen Khachanov
Head-to-head: Cilic 1-0
Marin Cilic made the finals in Moscow last week, getting completely dominated by Aslan Karatsev. Up until that point the Croat had been serving very well though and showing glimpses of his best indoor tennis. Karen Khachanov lost to the same opponent two rounds earlier, struggling to find the right balance between being proactive and allowing the opponent to take the initiative. Playing Cilic might push him to step out of his comfort zone, which could turn out well for him in the long run, especially with the support of the crowd.
Prediction: Khachanov in 3
Main Photo from Getty.