Karen Khachanov – Sebastian Korda
Sebastian Korda will face the first opponent in the tournament who is able to send powerful shots from behind his baseline. Hoang wasn’t up to the task, while de Minaur and Evans slowed down the game too often (leaving plenty of time for the American to attack first).
Karen Khachanov has the ability to play powerful and aggressive tennis from the baseline. He should be able to return the ball faster to the opponent’s court to prevent Sebastian Korda from dropping so many shots.
The Russian also made fewer unforced errors (an average of 24 per match, compared to 42 for Korda) and was just as good on serve.
Sebastien Korda has been impressing me for some time (especially since he’s only 20 years old), but Karen Khachanov is feeling good in this Wimbledon 2021 and I expect him to confirm in this match that promises to be crisp. Yum.
Prediction: Karen Khachanov
Denis Shapovalov – Roberto Bautista
Roberto Bautista is still in the running to defend his semi-final finish from last year. On the other hand, I find him less sharp than when he achieved this great performance in 2019.
The Spanish’s serve doesn’t seem to be effective enough for Denis Shapovalov not to take advantage of it. Bautista doesn’t win many free points and he’s not very confident on his second balls or when he has to save his butt on break points. The Canadian has a much better chance on serve, winning more than 10 aces per match and saving more than 80% of the break points he concedes.
In the game, Roberto Bautista remains very consistent (and that’s nice), but he can quickly go off the rails against offensive opponents. Denis Shapovalov should not accept to play small passes without taking action. Not to mention that the Canadian remains physically better in case this match is going to last.
The experience could bring an extra (and not insignificant) element to Roberto Bautista. However, it is Denis Shapovalov who has the key to this match in my opinion.
Prediction: Denis Shapovalov