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Khachanov vs Basilashvili ATP Dubai Preview, Predictions and Live Stream: Struggling Khachanov in danger of another first-round exit as he takes on dangerous Basilashvili in Dubai

Leye Aduloju in ATP Tour 24 Feb 2019
  • Karen Khachanov vs Nikoloz Basilashvili is live from Dubai on Monday, 25 February from 4:00pm local time/ 12:00pm GMT
  • Khachanov leads 2-0 on head-to-head
Karen Khachanov. (Photo by FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)

After pulling out of last week’s Open 13 Provence in Marseille due to ‘health issues’ (and thus failing to defend his title), Russian young gun, Karen Khachanov returns to action in Dubai on Monday, when he takes on Georgia’s Nikoloz Basilashvili in the first round.

A lot is expected from Khachanov this season after his superb 2018 campaign, but the 22-year-old has not got going at all, and is only 2-4 on the ATP World Tour this year. There is still plenty of time for him to make up for the slow start, of course, and with the talent at his disposal, this poor start to the year should be nothing more than a little bad patch.

Khachanov ended last season in sensational fashion, claiming his first Masters 1000 title at the Paris Masters, beating top-ten players, John Isner, Alexander Zverev, Dominic Thiem and Novak Djokovic in the process. That was by far the biggest title of his career, but he had earlier enjoyed title runs in Marseille and Moscow, while he made the semi-finals of the Toronto Masters. Khachanov also had respectable runs in the Grand Slams, reaching the fourth round at Roland Garros and Wimbledon, and making the third round at the Australian Open, and the US Open, where he pushed Rafael Nadal to four sets in a high quality contest. He ended the year with a superb 44-22 record, and was up to a career-best 11th.

It seemed just a matter of time before he broke into the top ten, but he has stalled at the start of 2019, suffering opening round defeats in three of his four tournaments. A first round loss to Stan Wawrinka in his season opener in Doha is perhaps understandable, as it was a difficult draw first up, but he would have expected to beat Matteo Berrettini in Sofia and Tallon Griekspoor in Rotterdam- he lost both matches. Khachanov’s only wins this year have been at the Australian Open, where he defeated Peter Gojowczyk and Yoshihito Nishioka, but his tournament was terminated by Roberto Bautista-Agut in the third round.

His search for form continues in Dubai this week, but the Emirati city has not been his most successful venue, as he has won just one match in his two previous appearances. Can he double his win tally in Dubai when he takes on Nikoloz Basilashvili in his 2019 opener?


It’s another difficult draw for Khachanov, as Basilashvili carries plenty of danger, like he showed last season, when he won a couple of ATP 500 trophies in Hamburg and Beijing. 

Nikoloz Basilashvili. (Photo by GREG WOOD/AFP/Getty Images)
Outside those title runs, his other notable performance from last season was his fourth-round showing at the US Open, where he took a set off Rafael Nadal before falling in four sets. He also reached the third round at the Australian Open, and quite a few ATP 250 quarter finals in Marrakech, Budapest, Antalya and Metz. 

Those results played a huge role in Basilashvili’s entry into the top-20 at the start of 2019, and he had a solid beginning to the new year, reaching the quarter finals in Doha, where he pushed Novak Djokovic to three sets, and falling to an inspired Stefanos Tsitsipas in the third round of the Australian Open, also in four sets. He has gone off the boil in recent weeks, winning just one match in his last two tournaments. The world No. 20 was beaten by Daniel Brands in the first round of the Sofia Open, and went just one round better in Rotterdam, falling to Marton Fucsovics in a very erratic second-round performance, after battling past Hyeon Chung in the first round.

Basilashvili is making his Dubai main draw debut after falling in the qualifying rounds in 2015 and 2016. Will he make a winning start to the tournament when he plays Khachanov on Monday? He’s got his previous two matches against Khachanov- 6-2 7-5 in Vienna in 2016, and 6-3 6-7 6-1 in Istanbul in 2017. Khachanov and Basilashvili both hit very big, but the big Russian carries more weight off the ground, and more control too, and has a distinct advantage on serve. However, Khachanov has not reached the heights he scaled last season, which makes him very vulnerable against a very dangerous opponent.

It wouldn’t be a massive surprise if Basilashvili defeated Khachanov on Monday- they are after all both ranked in the top-20- but I’ll still back Khachanov to come good against Basilashvili, who does have a tendency to get erratic.

Karen Khachanov vs Nikoloz Basilashvili is live from Dubai on Monday, 25 February from 4:00pm local time/ 12:00pm GMT

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Khachanov vs Basilashvili ATP Dubai Preview, Predictions and Live Stream: Struggling Khachanov in danger of another first-round exit as he takes on dangerous Basilashvili in Dubai

Karen Khachanov begins his Dubai campaign on Monday when he takes on Georgia's Nikoloz Basilashvili. Can the Russian survive the dangerous Georgian? Read our preview, predictions and stream the match live online.

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