After a whole week of gripping tennis action, the day of the final has dawned upon us at the ATP Adelaide International. The two men left standing on the stage are the top two seeds, and have proved themselves better than the rest. Both the finalists are equally worthy to lay their hands on the silverware, but in the end, only one will. Karen Khachanov is playing his fifth final on the ATP Tour and is accustomed to bigger successes. Still, he will be hungry to take the title here and keep his perfect record in finals on the ATP tour intact. Gael Monfils is no stranger to title clashes either, having played 22 of them. He finished 2021 without a title and will be hoping to get a good start this season. But who will walk away with the title?
ATP Adelaide Final Prediction
Gael Monfils vs Karen Khachanov
Head-to-head: first meeting
Khachanov defeated Marin Cilic in a tough semi-final match, which. Not playing his best tennis till now, Khachanov showed his mettle where it was needed. The first set was very tight till the tiebreak, and none gave away breathing room on their own serve. In the fifth game though, Khachanov faced a breakpoint, converting which, Cilic could have most possibly turned the result of the match. But Khachanov did well to keep his calm and took control right up front in the tiebreaker. The second set was all about one break of serve that proved to be crucial.
Khachanov did not pull out anything really extraordinary from the bag. He just kept doing what he does so well–grinding from the baseline, and attacking when the opportunity comes. He served six aces, which is below average for his standards. But more importantly, Khachanov saved all four of the breakpoints he faced. Another area Khachanov has excelled in, in his last two matches, is the number of points won on return of the second serve. That was where he able to really hurt the Croatian by pouncing on his second serve. But Khachanov will need to manage his forehand. It is certainly very dangerous thanks to the huge power he can generate but sometimes the big backswing becomes a problem.
Monfils braved the Australian crowd and home hope Thanasi Kokkinakis in his semifinal match. The script of the match was quite similar to that of the first semifinal, just that this match was a little more one-sided. The first set saw both players dominating their service games. But both of them got their chances too, in the form of two break points to each. After neither could convert them, Monfils finally broke serve in the 12th game to take the first set 7-5. After that though, Kokkinakis lost all the momentum, and couldn’t win another game, as he lost the second set to love.
Monfils at the age of 35 is still a great mover and one of the fittest players on tour. He can keep up in the long rallies, which he will need to do to outlast Khachanov.The experience he has is invaluable when playing the younger guys. Along with his bag of tricks, Monfils has excellent anticipation skills, which were highlighted in the final point of the first set, as well as in the last game of the second set. An important facet of his game is his winning percentage on the first serve. In the semifinal, he gave away just 5 points on his first serve. That said, his second serve doesn’t always bring very good results. His first-serves-in percentage does not make it any better, and that might be a concern in the final.
Somewhat surprisingly this pair have never met before. Monfils is the higher ranked of the two, but that doesn’t really mean much when we are talking about the first and second seed. Both are in similar form, Monfils making a semifinal and a final, and Khachanov making two semifinals in recent months. However, it has to be considered that Khachanov had the better 2021 season, as he also made the Wimbledon quarterfinal and then secured the Olympic silver medal. But immediate form points to Monfils showing better performance. But Monfils looks like a man on a mission here in Adelaide. Expect him to be the man lifting the title.
Prediction: Monfils in 3
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