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PREVIEW: Generali Open – Selected Round of 32 

Damien Kayat previews the ATP Tour Generali Open Round of 32 matches between Dominic Thiem and Alexander Shevchenko as well as Aslan Karatsev vs Dusan Lajovic on 26 & 27 July 2022.

Alexander Shevchenko

Damien Kayat previews the ATP Tour Generali Open Round of 32 matches between Dominic Thiem and Alexander Shevchenko as well as Aslan Karatsev vs Dusan Lajovic on 26 & 27 July 2022.

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

2022 ATP Tour

ATP 250 Series

Generali Open (Austrian Open)

Tennis Stadium Kitzbuhel (Outdoor Clay)

Selected Round of 32 and Round of 16 Matches- 26th and 27th July

Round of 32- 26th July

Dominic Thiem (19/100) vs Alexander Shevchenko (7/2)

These last two weeks have been really encouraging for 2020 US Open champion Dominic Thiem. Doubt was creeping in as to whether the Austrian could return to the form that saw him reach four Grand Slam finals. 

The last wrist injury side-lined him for more than nine months. And his return to the court was less than inspiring (he failed to win his first seven matches since is return at the Marbella Challenger). 

But the two-time Roland Garros finalist seems to have found some real rhythm in the last two events.  He reached the quarterfinals in Sweden before a semi-final stint in Switzerland last week. 

It seems as if he is finally starting to become the player we know he is. Wouldn’t it be serendipitous if he could return to winning ways in his home country? 

He won the title here in 2019 and he will be a strong favourite this week.

Russian Alexander Shevchenko will be under no illusions as to the magnitude of this challenge.  He will be up against one of the world’s best clay-court players in front of his home crowd.

But Thiem is still inching towards his best form and the Russian may never have a better chance to pull off an upset. Thiem’s physicality is going to be tested after going deep last week.  Also, Shevchenko has actually enjoyed a pretty decent year (albeit he has predominantly played on at the lower tiers). 

He has won 37 of 56 matches this year, including titles at the ITF M25 and Antalya and Bratislava Challenger.  And this is where his advantage could lie this week. 

Sure, he is nowhere near the player that Thiem is at his peak. But he is absolutely battle-hardened by action this year.  Thiem could be feeling a little jaded after two decent back-to-back tournaments.            

The Verdict: Thiem to win in three at 11/4- This will be the first career meeting between these two. 

I actually think that Shevchenko could offer a stern test for Thiem. He has played plenty of tennis this year and could exploit a slightly weary Thiem.  Perhaps the Russian could take the first set if he comes out the gates hard. 

Having said that, Thiem’s class should be able to see him through this match in the end.

Round of 16- 27h July

Aslan Karatsev (4) (8/11) vs Dusan Lajovic (11/10)

This has been a trying time for 28-year-old Russian Aslan Karatsev. The 4th seed has emerged as a consistent ATP title contender since his Aussie semi-final run last year. 

He has reached four titles since that run (winning three of them). This included his 3rd ATP Tour title earlier this year in Sydney.  But his season has unravelled fairly dramatically since then. The fact that there is currently an investigation into alleged betting irregularities has probably played a part in that downturn. Interestingly, in Hamburg he had to take on the other player implicated in the betting scandal: Nikoloz Basilashvili. 

He thrashed the Georgian before struggling past Galan in his round of 16 match. But for the 2nd consecutive week he lost to up-and-coming clay-court afficionado Francisco Cerundolo. It took his season stats to 14-18 (which is pretty lousy considering he won the Sydney title). 

His high-octane game isn’t exactly best suited to clay (despite his run to last year’s Serbia Open final). 


32-year-old Serb Dusan Lajovic will be delighted with his opening round victory against Vitaliy Sackho.  It broke a streak of four consecutive tour-level losses on clay. 

The former top 25 player needs to thrive in these events to keep his head above water in the ATP rankings (he has plummeted to a current ranking of 80 in the world). At the height of his powers, the Serb managed to reach the ATP 1000 final in Monte-Carlo. 

But he hasn’t reached a final since winning his only crown at the 2019 Croatian Open.  And this season has been pretty much a write-off for Lajovic.  But his round of 16 run in Madrid highlighted some of his formidable clay-court potential.  He took down Roland Garros finalist Casper Rudd in that event. 

That’s no mean feat when you look at Rudd’s clay-court stats over the last year.  And I think his three-set defeat to Musetti in Hamburg last week has aged rather well.  Musetti would go on to capture the title, beating Alcaraz Garfia in the final.  Lajovic will feel quietly confident of taking down the under-fire Aslan Karatsev. 

The Verdict: Lajovic to win in three at 7/2- This will be the first career meeting between these two. 

Karatsev’s last two defeats came at the hands of clay-court expert Cerundolo. 

This tells me that Lajovic has a chance of pulling off an upset this week.  I also think that Lajovic could benefit from any distraction related to Karatsev’s current investigation. 

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