This will be the fourth time these two players will compete against each other.
Stan Wawrinka leads in this head-to-head with two wins, including the only match played indoors. Note that there was at least one tiebreak per match.
Stan Wawrinka has already participated in this ATP 500 in Rotterdam 4 times. He has only been eliminated once in the first round (in 2018 against Griekspoor) and his best performance is a trophy lifted in 2015. Moreover, he reached the final in his last participation in 2019.
For her part, Karen Khachanov will play in Rotterdam for the fifth time as well. He only managed to get through the first round once. That was last year, and he was then eliminated in the next match.
I’m really enjoying this match because I’m sure we’re going to see some very nice points. We are dealing with two men who can play with intensity and who are comfortable in these indoor conditions.
Stan Wawrinka and Karen Khachanov have not played since their elimination at the Australian Open (in the 2nd round for Switzerland and 3rd for Russia). They will therefore play their first match since their return to Europe, and they may need some time to get back into it.
Since 2017, the recovery of these two men after the Australian Open is quite different. We can notice that Karen Khachanov’s recovery tournament is often not very successful: except for Montpellier in 2018 (1/4 final), he was eliminated twice in the first round (Montpellier 2017 and Sofia 2019) and once in the 2nd round (Rotterdam last year). As for Stan Wawrinka, it is “all or nothing”: eliminated twice in the 1st round (Sofia 2019 and Dubai 2017) and twice in the semi-final (Doha 2020 and Sofia 2018).
In summary, in the last 4 years, Karen Khachanov has lost as many times as Stan Wawrinka, and did less well than the Swiss when he won his first match.
I find this parameter interesting because it allows me to know the habits and state of mind of the players when they come out of a Grand Slam and change continents.
Tennistically speaking, these two players are capable of holding long rallies from their baseline. They also serve very well, and that makes me think that we could see at least one tie-break (as we have seen in their previous confrontations). Still, there is a slight advantage for Karen Khachanov in terms of serve. Indeed, since the beginning of the season, the Russian seems to be more solid in this sector of the game.
Where I think Stan Wawrinka has a card to play is in his ability to vary the game. Karen Khachanov is a puncher and he likes rhythmic rallies. The Swiss can obviously compete with the Russian in this area (he is able to drop explosive shots from both sides), but he can also break the rhythm and play with the height of the ball to upset his opponent.
Karen Khachanov never really felt good sensations in this ATP 500 in Rotterdam. This explains why he only managed to pass the first round once. So I see him struggling in this match against a Stan Wawrinka who proved that he was more successful in this tournament.
It may not be a disconnected match, but I expect it to be a balanced one. For the bettors, I would advise against putting a coin on this match. Instead, make yourself comfortable on your couch or your best chair, get out the popcorn and bibs and enjoy the fight.
Prediction: Stan Wawrinka wins