Karen Khachanov vs. Matteo Berrettini - 2021 Australian Open Men's Singles Third Round
Saturday, February 13 2021
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Matteo Berrettini (9) meets Karen Khachanov (19) in the third round of the 2021 Australian Open on Saturday, February 13th 2021.
Will we see the resurgence of the once-dominant Karen Khachanov here, or will Matteo Berrettini continue to power through his matches here in Australia as he did in his first two matches?
Karen Khachanov is a very good player, but a shadow of his former peak in 2018 which saw him win the Paris Masters 1000, beating Novak Djokovic in the final. Khachanov has not really had a tough match here yet, meeting much lower ranked players. Khachanov beat Richard Berankis in the second round in straight sets 6-2/6-4/6-4. Khachanov is prone to making a lot of mistakes against tough opponents and he has to drastically improve his level in this match against Matteo Berrettini who has been in incredible form ever since he came down to Australia last week.
Matteo Berrettini beat Machac the Czech qualifier in the second round, beating his opponent in 4 sets 6-3/6-2/4-6/6-3. Matteo Berrettini has been in great form for over a week now, having got 5-1 in his last 6 matches. Berrettini is great in these conditions as he can hit incredible serves, and his forehand powers through the court much faster than on other surfaces. Berrettini will be very motivated to get far here this year as he knows that if he plays his best, he can at least make the quarterfinals here. Will Berrettini be able to come through an opponent who can hurt anyone on his day in Karen Khachanov?
This is going to be the fourth meeting between both players, with Matteo Berrettini leading the head to head 3-0. If this was 2018, I would have chosen Karen Khachanov to win this encounter. However, since then, Matteo Berrettini has been on a constant upwards trajectory, whilst Khachanov has been continuously going down. Khachanov is no longer the player he used to be, and it is going to take a very big effort to get anything out of this match against Berrettini. I expect Berrettini to win in 3 or 4 sets.