World No. 1 and U.S. Open champion Carlos Alcaraz will make his 2022 Astana Open debut against David Goffin on Tuesday. American Maxime Cressy kicks off his campaign against U.S. Open semifinalist Karen Khachanov.
(1) Carlos Alcaraz vs. (LL) David Goffin
Newly crowned U.S. Open champion Carlos Alcaraz heads into this fall as the youngest world No. 1 in ATP history. Since his ascension to the top spot, he has had a mixed bag of results. Two matches in Davis Cup play resulted in one win (over Soonwoo Kwon) and a loss to Felix Auger-Aliassime. While it remains to be seen how Alcaraz will handle the pressure of expectation, this first round match should ease him into the tournament.
David Goffin has a fine tennis CV. The Belgian has won 6 titles in his career, including a clay court crown this year in Marrakech. He had an excellent run to the quarterfinals at Wimbledon – and he’s barely won a main draw match since. He nabbed a spot in Astana as a lucky loser with the withdrawal of Jannik Sinner from the main draw.
Given the struggles Goffin has had of late and the impressive form of the Spanish teenage, expect this one to be a routine win for Alcaraz.
Cheryl pick: Alcaraz in 2
Ricky pick: Alcaraz in 2
Maxime Cressy vs. Karen Khachanov
This is one of the more intriguing matchups on the docket in Astana on Tuesday. American Maxime Cressy has an almost old-fashioned game, more John McEnroe than the far more common baseline game modern fans are accustomed to. And despite the fact that hardly any players serve and volley, it’s working for Cressy. The French-raised American is ranked No. 32 in the world with a title this year on the grass courts of Newport.
Karen Khachanov is the world No. 18. He came out of nowhere to make his way to the semifinals of the U.S. Open last month. He dispatched one of the pre-tournament favorites in Nick Kyrgios in the quarters. The Russian, ranked No. 18 in the world, had a relatively mediocre season until his run in New York. He comes into Astana with plenty of confidence, but an unconventional player like Cressy could pose a threat.
This will be the first meeting between Cressy and Khachanov. The Russian is a slight favorite based on very recent form, but Cressy should keep the match competitive with his aggressive style of play.
Cheryl pick: Khachanov in 3
Ricky pick: Cressy in 3
The post Astana R1 previews and predictions: Alcaraz vs. Goffin, Khachanov vs. Cressy appeared first on The Grandstand.