Carlos Alcaraz will make his debut at the ATP China Open in Beijing. He’s got a target to truncate Novak Djokovic’s 770-point lead in the ATP Race this week, and most importantly win a Tour-leading seventh title of the season. But he faces one of the most improved players in his first match. Will the young Spaniard overcome Yannick Hanfmann? We also predict the rest of the day’s matches in a separate.
ATP Beijing Day 2 Predictions
Grigor Dimitrov vs Mackenzie McDonald
Head-to-head: Dimitrov 2-1 McDonald
Grigor Dimitrov and Mackenzie McDonald will be bristling with positivity coming into this match. Both players made an encouraging start to the Asian swing this past week. Dimitrov reached a semifinal in Chengdu and lost a tight straight-sets match to eventual champion Alexander Zverev. Incidentally, McDonald fell in the quarterfinal to Karen Khachanov, the eventual winner in Zhuhai. Dimitrov’s record in Beijing serves him in good stead. A former finalist and one of the most offensively-minded players on tour, he’ll dictate this match with his vast skill set.
Prediction: Dimitrov in 2
Andrey Rublev vs Cameron Norrie
Head-to-head: Rublev 2-2 Norrie
We didn’t see the best version of Andrey Rublev at the Laver Cup, where he accounted for three costly losses. But his opponent has fared worse in September. Norrie has lost four of his five matches across all competitions, which is sufficient to create a phobia in a player. Last week Aslan Karatsev autored a shock win over the BNriton that has him veering close to crisis level. And the likelihood of another Russian overpowering him in baseline slugfest is high.
Prediction: Rublev in 2
Carlos Alcaraz vs Yannick Hanfmann
Head-to-head: Alcaraz 1-0 Hanfmann
This will be Carlos Alcaraz’s first taste of the Asian swing. The 20-year-old trails Novak Djokovic in the world rankings and in the ATP Race to Turin. But key performance measures of Alcaraz’s 2023 season show huge improvement from last year. He’s had more Tour-level wins than in 2022 (and than any other player) and owns at least one more title in his trophy cabinet than any player this season. However, there’s a caveat ahead of his debut in Beijing. His opponent Yannick Hanfmann, has been the ultimate late bloomer. The German savored his best tennis at 31 and briefly enjoyed the dizzying heights of the world’s Top 50. But a well-rested Alcaraz will have every shot in the book to counter Hanfmann’s strengths, even with the veteran having acclimatized with the courts in China from a strong qualifying run.
Prediction: Alcaraz in 2
Main Photo Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports