The ATP Zhuhai quarterfinal draw is full of plenty of big names in the event. Seven of the eight seeded players reached the final 8, with Aslan Karatsev upsetting Andy Murray yesterday to be the only unseeded player in the quarters. Karen Khachanov looks like the player to beat as the top seed with an excellent hard-court resume, and he kicks off the day with the first match against Mackenzie McDonald.
McDonald’s countryman Sebastian Korda is next up looking to rebound and make his first final since January of this year. Cameron Norrie is looking to bounce back from a fairly disappointing year. The night match features the lone Asian player remaining, Yoshihito Nishioka, in a clash of styles with Jan-Lennard Struff. All four matches should provide plenty of entertainment, and all are previewed at Last Word on Tennis.
ATP Zhuhai Quarterfinal Predictions
Sebastian Korda vs Tomas Martin Etcheverry
Head-to-head: 1-0 Korda
This match is a rematch from just last month in Toronto, won convincingly by Korda who dropped just five games. They are similarly ranked though Korda has missed large portions of the year due to multiple injuries. He did drop a set but looked strong in his first-round match looking to continue a good fall on hard courts. Etcheverry has looked great in Zhuhai winning all four sets he has played, though he has not had serious competition. Etcheverry is an excellent clay court player but has not quite been able to compete at as high a level on hard courts. Korda is the opposite and plays great on hard and the faster courts will prevent Etcheverry from maximizing his baseline power which plays right into Korda’s strokes to stay in front and play good attacking tennis. This will be heavily in Korda’s favor.
Predictions: Korda in 2
Cameron Norrie vs Aslan Karatsev
Head-to-head: 2-0 Norrie
This will likely be the tightest match of the quarterfinal round. Norrie has won both their meetings, but they have not played yet this year when Norrie has fallen off a bit, and Karatsev has improved his form compared to the last couple of years. Norrie has struggled in the second half of the year especially, and though he does have one title, it came back in February on a clay court. Karatsev is strong on hard courts and can hit with Norrie and was able to grind out a three-set win over Andy Murray, a strong feat for any player. Karatsev is in better form and has been successful against left-handers in his career as long as he still has the legs after two long matches. It will be close, but Karatsev will pull off the win.
Prediction: Karatsev in 3
Yoshihito Nishioka vs Jan-Lennard Struff
This will be a fun clash of styles with Nishioka a small defensive left-hander against Struff the tall, powerful, right-hander. There is an 11-inch (26 cm) height difference between the two but both have made their styles work. Struff has had a career year and his near his career-high ranking in the low 20s. Though his best results have come on clay both this year and his career, he has taken a major step forward on hard courts with a 20-6 record on all levels on the surface in 2023. Nishioka with his size thrives on slower surfaces so the court speed will be in Struff’s favor. Nishioka has had a couple of close matches here and will not have enough tools to handle Struff’s power.
Prediction: Struff in 2
Karen Khachanov vs Mackenzie McDonald
Head-to-head: 3-0 Khachanov
Khachanov has won all three of their meetings including each of their two hard court encounters in straight sets. He is making his return to tour after a layoff between the French Open and the US Open due to injury. Though he certainly showed rust in his first-round US Open loss, he looked strong at ATP Zhuhai, beating Alex Bolt in a match where he did not drop serve once. McDonald will test that serve with his strong defense, and he is having his best year on tour so far. McDonald has scored some strong wins this year, but Khachanov does not match up well with him. McDonald though strong on return will not have enough answers for the Russian’s serve on a hard court and Khachanov will stay in control.
Prediction: Khachanov in 2
Main Photo Credit: Geoff Burke – USA TODAY Sports