Nick Kyrgios vs. Karen Khachanov Cincinnati Open Picks 8/14/2019
Nick Kyrgios vs. Karen Khachanov
10 am EST, 14th August 2019
Cincinnati, Ohio (USA)
There was a lot of excitement among the tennis fans when the draw was completed for the Masters in Cincinnati. The reason for that was the possibility of Nick Kyrgios facing Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals. For those who don't know, Kyrgios is probably the most controversial person on the tour right now. Kinda like modern John McEnroe. His opinions are unfiltered and he is often taking shots at his colleagues. A couple of months ago, he was guest at one of the podcasts where he said some harsh things about Novak Djokovic. Nole took the high road, but that didn't stop Nick to continue with his hate towards the world No.1 every time he had a chance. Djokovic wasn't responding to any of that, but I'm sure he would be very motivated for that potential matchup and an opportunity to show Kyrgios who's the boss around here. This duel would also come in a perfect moment, with Aussie finally finding some form after a couple of slow months. He won the title in Washington and his game is well suited for these fast conditions in Cincinnati, where he reached the finals in 2017. The same can't be said for Djokovic. This might be his least favorite Masters tournament. He struggled at this event early on and has only 1 title here (2018). For a long time, it was the only missing piece in his Masters series collection.
But let's not get ahead of ourselves here. There is still a long way to that potential matchup in the quarterfinals. Kyrgios still has some major obstacles in front of him. After eliminating Lorenzo Sonego in the first round, Karen Khachanov will be his next opponent. Russian arrived to Cincy in very good form after reaching the semifinals last week in Montreal. The first half of the season was pretty rough for him, but it seems he is finding some groove in the past couple of months. Khachanov's results in Cincinnati were mediocre so far. Two 3rd round appearances, with no big wins and a loss to Yuichi Sugita in 2017.
They are both part of the so-called "Next Gen", which is why I find it surprising that they have met only once in their careers. And even that time it was not on the pro circuit, but in Juniors edition of a French Open. 6 years ago, Khachanov won that match in 3 sets, but many circumstances in this upcoming match will be completely different. The most important one is probably the speed of the surface. It is something that definitely favors Krgyios, as someone who has a big serve and loves the short points. Khachanov is a solid baseliner that can also play some big ball but is still more of a counter-puncher that looks to keep the ball in play and grind his opponent out.
Betting odds & prediction
I was very interested to see who is going to be favored in this match, to begin with. Whether it will be a Top10 player in the world Karen Khachanov, or in-form Nick Kyrgios with some previous success at this event. Oddsmakers lined up Aussie at -140. Obviously, they have a lot of respect for Kyrgios' ability, when he is focused and ready to go. Which does make a lot of sense. When he brings his A-game, he is a potential threat to any player in the world, but that level of performance doesn't come by very often. But right now, he is pretty close to his best, which is why Khachanov should be very careful.
Total is set pretty high at 25, because of the fast conditions, pretty evenly matched opponents who are good servers on top of that. But when there are not many long rallies, I feel like there are fewer momentum swings as well. One guy is simply feeling his serve/return better that day and runs away with a 7-6 6-4 type of win. Something like that is very likely in this case as well.
Pick: under 25 games (-116)
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