Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: ATP 500 Series: Dubai Tennis Championships and Mexican Open

ATP 500 Series: Dubai Tennis Championships and Mexican Open




We take a look at the ATP Tour 500 Series Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships matches between Andrey Rublev and Aslan Karatsev as well as Alexander Zverev against Dominik Koepfer.

Photo Copyright - Steve Haag Sports

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

2021 ATP Tour
ATP 500 Series
ATP Dubai Tennis Championships and Mexican Open
Selected Semi-Finals

Andrey Rublev (2) (21/100) vs Aslan Karatsev (33/10)

Andrey Rublev has had plenty to say on and off the court this week.  I feel his grievances in terms of the current ATP rankings systems.  How can he possibly be ranked lower than Roger Federer in the ATP rankings?  Federer has just returned from a 14-month layoff while Rublev is aiming to win his 5th consecutive ATP 500 title.  Interestingly enough, his victory over Marton Fucsovics took him to 23 consecutive ATP 500 victories.  Only Roger Federer has more consecutive victories at this level with 28.  Funny how things go.  Rublev was once again supreme against Fucsovics, beating the unfortunate Hungarian for the 3rd time in three weeks (one of those being a walkover).  Rublev seems to have an innate ability to adapt to subtle changes in court speed.  That victory also took him to 18 wins from 20 matches in 2021.  Now it’s time for him to face up to compatriot and 2021 breakout star Aslan Karatsev.

Aslan Karatsev is just going from strength to strength.  The remarkable rise of this Russian mystery man will forever be associated with that glorious semi-final run at Melbourne.  The purity of his ball-striking off both wings is phenomenal, catching out players more accustomed to engaging in protracted rallies.  Karatsev pushed Thiem to three sets in Qatar last week and has now reached his first ever ATP 500 final.  In fact, he has become only the second wildcard since 1998 to reach the Dubai semi-finals.  The Russian hit 41 winners against Jannik Sinner, coming from a set down for his 2nd consecutive match.  Starting the season ranked 112 in the world, Karatsev could crack the top 30 if he lifts the Dubai crown this week.  These two know each other all too well: they actually captured the doubles title in Qatar last week.

I was quite surprised to learn that this will be their first ever ATP match.  I know it seems as if I have an anti-Rublev agenda.  But I’m seriously opting for the underdog again.  Karatsev has the power to dismantle Rublev in a way that Fucsovics simply cannot do.  I’m once again drawn to Rublev’s defeat against Bautista Agut in Qatar.  Agut was able to repel the Russian with his solid baseline play.  Where else are you going to get 33/10 for a recent Grand Slam semi-finalist?

HSBC Abierto Mexicano Telcel (Mexican Open) – Hotel Princess Mundo Imperial (Oudoor Hardcourt)

Alex Zverev (2) vs Dominik Koepfer

Alex Zverev has joined Andrey Rublev in voicing his displeasure at Roger Federer’s superior ranking.  And while I understand them on one level, I find it a bit galling that these non-Major winners would publicly out Federer like that.  A bit classless.  Zverev was finally starting to play his best tennis towards the end of 2020, reaching the US Open and Paris Masters Finals.  But the domestic abuse allegations have certainly affected his game (people have conveniently forgotten the severity of those claims).   Zverev reached the quarterfinals in Melbourne before a humbling opening round defeat in Rotterdam.  Zverev absolutely dominated his first two matches before a timely walkover sent him into the semi-finals.  Can he make it all the way this week and start to re-establish some dominance in his game?

His opponent this week in this all-German semi-final is the unlikeliest of candidates: Dominik Koepfer.  Koepfer has really had an ordinary start to the season, especially struggling on those dusty South American hardcourts.  Last year he did manage to reach his first ATP Masters 1000 quarterfinal in Rome.  But this looks set to be a real struggle.  Let’s not take anything away from the German.  He has been brilliant this week.  The way he dismantled Raonic was astonishing.  And he came up against the tricky lefty Cameron Norrie in the last round.  Norrie had been in good form but Koepfer took care of the awkward Brit.  

I sometimes find these head-to-head records hard to believe.  I would have surely thought that these two fellow countrymen would have played each other before.  In any event, there is no way through here for Koepfer.  Zverev has looked immense this week and will be booking himself a ticket into the final. 

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