Khachanov vs Carreno-Busta – ATP Monte Carlo Predictions
April 13, 2021
Khachanov vs Carreno-Busta is one of the few Wednesday matches at ATP Monte Carlo that doesn’t feature a heavy favorite. With two opponents that are somewhat evenly matched, this shapes up to be one of the more intriguing contests of the day’s action. In today’s tennis picks, we look at the Khachanov vs Carreno-Busta showdown and offer our best bet for a potentially dramatic contest.
Karen Khachanov vs Pablo Carreno-Busta
Karen Khachanov won his first clay court match since the 2020 French Open in the first round of the Monte Carlo Masters. The Russian beat Laslo Djere in the first round of the tournament, setting up this second round clash with a top-15 player in the world in Carreno-Busta. While Khachanov has proven competent on clay, the question is whether he can handle an in-form Carreno-Busta here.
If Khachanov is going to knock off the Spaniard, it is going to have to come via the return of serve. Against Djere, the Russian won just under half of the Serbian’s first serve points and close to 60% of his second serve points. All of those points should be harder to come by against Carreno-Busta, who is better at protecting his serve than Djere in a big way.
Pablo Carreno-Busta picked up his fifth straight win on clay in the last week in the first round at Monte Carlo. He took care of Italian Stefano Travaglia in straight sets in the first round in Monaco. That effort followed up his performance last week in Marbella, where he won the title on home soil in that 250 level event.
For Carreno-Busta, his form and ability on clay are not at all in question. The question for the Spaniard will be whether or not he can keep up the level he has summoned over the last week on clay. Fatigue shouldn’t be too pressing a concern given that he took some time off after Dubai. But players coming off of a title the previous week are always susceptible to a letdown in the next event.
The head-to-head history in Khachanov vs Carreno-Busta is interesting, with the Spaniard winning three of the five meetings between the two. Carreno-Busta won the first three encounters against Khachanov, though the Russian has responded with two straight wins of his own. Each of their last three encounters has seen a set go to a tiebreak. But Carreno-Busta has the edge on clay, having won their only meeting on the surface during the 2017 Monte Carlo Masters.
On clay, the consistency of Carreno-Busta is what gives him the edge in this Khachanov vs Carreno-Busta matchup. He plays with more margin, which will result in more errors from the Russian. Expect PCB to do a better job of waiting for the right opportunities to strike, and for Khachanov to frustrate himself out of this match as he hits more errors than the in-form Carreno-Busta.
ATP Monte Carlo FAQ
Why are there so many heavy favorites on Wednesday?
In the early stages of the Monte Carlo Masters, there are a ton of big favorites. A lot of that has to do with players who received byes making their first appearances in the tournament. Some of it also has to do with the presence of clay court specialists like Cristian Garin taking on competitors who are significantly less trustworthy on the surface.
Who had the most impressive performance so far?
The most impressive performance of the tournament so far may have come from Garin in his first round match against Felix Auger-Aliassime. Garin was down a break before rain stopped his match on Monday. He came back to the court on Tuesday and got his break back before winning the first set in a tiebreak. Garin then cruised in the second set, and looks like a real threat to make a deep run in this tournament.
Can Tsitsipas challenge Djokovic and Nadal?
The early performance from Stefanos Tsitsipas has to make him a contender to win this tournament. He made quick work of Aslan Karatsev on Tuesday, which was especially impressive given that Karatsev is playing the best tennis of his entire life since his run in the Australian Open. If Tsitsipas can sustain the level he saw against Karatsev, he could very well win this Masters 1000 event.