ATP Doha Day 1 Predictions Including Karen Khachanov vs MacKenzie McDonald

Karen Khachanov in action ahead of the ATP Marseille Open.
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With four men’s tournaments on deck for this upcoming week, there is sure to be no shortage of exciting matches taking place on the ATP Tour. One of those four locations is Doha, where top players are going to be battling it out in the first week of action in the Middle East. Next week, Dubai will take center-stage on the ATP Tour.

Who will win and who will fall short on Day 1 of the ATP Qatar Open in Doha? I present my best guesses.

ATP Doha Day 1 Predictions

Christopher Eubanks vs Soonwoo Kwon

Head to Head: never played

Christopher Eubanks did well to come though qualifying in Doha. Eubanks beat Aziz Dougaz and Elias Ymer without dropping a set. Soonwoo Kwon made the second round of Rotterdam last week, beating Hugo Gaston in the first round. However, in his next match against Andrey Rublev, Kwon didn’t put up much resistance in a straight-sets loss.

These two have never played before. Kwon is by-far the better baseline player, however Eubanks’ first serve is the best shot on the court. Kwon’s return of serve is good enough that he should be able to get enough returns in play and frustrate Eubanks as he extends baseline rallies. While there will be moments in this match where Eubanks is untouchable on his serve, ultimately, I trust Kwon’s baseline game here to get the job done. Kwon will advance.
Prediction: Kwon in 3

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Thomas Fabbiano vs Botic Van De Zandschulp

Head to Head: never played

Thomas Fabbiano did a good job coming through the qualifying draw, not dropping a set in his victories over Issa Shanan Al Harrasi and Joao Sousa. Fabbiano’s baseline game is so solid and he’s so difficult to break down. Botic Van De Zandschulp surely would have wanted to do better in Rotterdam, his home country’s tournament. However, after beating Bernabe Zapata Miralles in the first round, he fell to Jiri Lehecka in the second round, despite winning the first set 6-1.

These two have never played before. Fabbiano is probably the slightly more consistent player, but Van De Zandschulp has a much better serve and a lot more power from the baseline. Ultimately, while Fabbiano can frustrate Van De Zandschulp by getting a lot of balls back in play, the Dutchman should have no problem hitting through Fabbiano from the baseline. The difference in free points on-serve will also play a factor here. Van De Zandschulp will move on.
Prediction Van De Zandschulp in 2

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Daniel Evans vs Egor Gerasimov

Head to Head: never played

Daniel Evans hasn’t played since the Australian Open, where he made the third round before falling to Felix Auger-Aliassime. Evans’ backhand slice and net play makes him one of the trickiest players to face on the ATP Tour. Egor Gerasimov qualified for Rotterdam and actually took the first set from Auger-Aliassime in their first-round match, but couldn’t finish the Canadian off and fell in three sets. Gerasimov’s big serve and powerful baseline game makes him a tough opponent to face.

These two have never played before. Evans will look to work the points, move to the net when he as the opportunity, and frustrate Gerasimov with his backhand slice. Gerasimov will certainly get some free points on his serve and there will be times where he can overwhelm the Brit with pace. However, Evans is a very crafty player and should be able to coax enough errors out of Gerasimov to win this match relatively comfortably.
Prediction: Evans in 2

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Alex Molcan vs Christopher O’Connell

Head to Head: 1-0 Molcan

Alex Molcan had a disappointing performance in Montpellier last week, falling to Damir Dzumhur in three sets. Molcan only won 42% of his second-serve points in the loss. Chistopher O’Connell did well to qualify without losing a set. O’Connell only lost seven games in his two qualifying wins over Mubarak Shannan Zayid and Pavel Kotov.

Molcan leads the head to head 1-0, but that was on clay and not relevant to this match. Molcan is the craftier player, but O’Connell will have chances on his serve. With that said, Molcan is the steadier baseline player, has better variety, and should be able to absorb O’Connell’s power decently well. This is a very tight match, but look for Molcan squeak out a victory.
Prediction: Molcan in 3

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Karen Khachanov vs Mackenzie McDonald

Head to Head: 2-0 Khachanov

Karen Khachanov beat Alexei Popyrin in his first match in Rotterdam, however, he fell in his next match against Cameron Norrie. Khachanov struggled to hit through Norrie on the slow Rotterdam courts. Mackenzie McDonald took out the struggling Nicoloz Basilashvili in the first round of Rotterdam. However, against Alex De Minaur in his next match, despite being a break up in the third, McDonald was unable to close out the Aussie.

Khachanov leads the head to head 2-0, including a 1-0 record on hard. Khachanov beat McDonald 7-6(4), 6-4 in Marseilles last season. Khachanov just does everything a little bit better than McDonald. His serve has a little more pop, his groundstrokes have a bit more firepower and he has better control on his shots from the baseline. This will likely be a close match, but look for Khachanov to sneak out a three-set win.
Prediction: Khachanov in 3

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