Russia’s ATP Cup winners Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev, Aslan Karatsev and Evgeny Donsky pose with their trophy after defeating Italy in the final in Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, Feb. 7, 2021.(AP Photo/Hamish Blair)
- Andrey Rublev and Aslan Karatsev each have just two losses on the season
- Karatsev has played one extra match and averaged an hour more per match than his younger opponent
- Rublev is the big favorite. We break down how the upstart Karatsev might bring value
Andrey Rublev and Aslan Karatsev are two of the winningest players on the ATP Tour so far in 2021.
Rublev is 16-2 on the season (including two bonus walkover wins last week in Doha).
That puts him No. 2 on the list behind the undefeated Novak Djokovic (9-0)
Karatsev, a wild card, is fourth on the list at 10-2. The only two players he has lost to in 2021 are Djokovic and Dominic Thiem.
Aslan Karatsev vs Andrey Rublev Odds
|Player||Spread||Moneyline||Total at DraftKings|
|[WC] Aslan Karatsev (RUS)||+4.5 (-134)||+340||O 21.5 (-143)|
| Andrey Rublev (RUS)||-4.5 (+106)||-455||U 21.5 (+114)|
Odds taken March 18
Victorious Doubles Partners Last Week
Karatsev and Rublev played one doubles match at the ATP Cup together.
Then they paired up in Doha last week – and won the tournament without dropping a set.
Tonight @andreyrublev & @karatsev93 are leaving Qatar as the doubles CHAMPIONS of #qatarexxonmobilopen2021 🎾 well played! #atptour #qatartennis #qemo2021 pic.twitter.com/BkU1HRVe94
— Qatar Tennis Federation (@QatarTennis) March 12, 2021
Rublev the Pre-Tournament Favorite
Nothing Rublev has done so far in this event should make anyone who took him at +300 before the event began nervous.
In the absence of Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev, he was far and away the favorite to win.
Still, if you had Karatsev – at +5000 – it wasn’t a bad play.
The winner will play either No. 3 seed Denis Shapovalov or qualifier Lloyd Harris in the final.
2021 French Open Odds Tracker
First Career Meeting Between Karatsev and Rublev
The two have never played each other. But they’ve gotten to know each other.
Karatsev was the captain of the victorious Russian ATP Cup squad to start the Melbourne summer. And Rublev, four years younger, remembered him as one of the most talented players in Russia at a young age, who went afield for a few years but came on at the end of 2020.
“I just need to play my game, nothing more special. I don’t know why, but I’m really excited to play this match because Aslan is playing really well now. He’s full of confidence and I want to see how he’s playing,” Rublev said. “I want to challenge myself, because he’s winning really great matches.”
Karatsev is only the second wild card since 1998 to reach the semifinals in Dubai.
Aslan Karatsev vs Andrey Rublev Head-to-Head
|27 (Sept. 4, 1993)||Age||23 (Oct. 20, 1997)|
|Vladikavkaz, Russia||Birthplace||Moscow, Russia|
|0||Career ATP Singles Titles||8|
|No. 42 (Feb. 22, 2021)||Career High Ranking||No. 8 (Oct. 19, 2020)|
|No. 42||Current Ranking||No. 8|
|$1,159,509||Career Prize Money||$7,679,718|
|10-2||2021 Won/Loss record||16-2|
A Lot More Tennis for Karatsev This Week
Karatsev has made more prize money in 2 1/2 months ($606,745 US) than he did during his entire professional career before that ($552,764).
He played his first pro event all the way back in 2009.
This week, he’s had to work a lot harder than his opponent to get to the semifinals.
Rublev, who had a bye in the first round, has played one fewer match. And he has averaged a full hour less per match as Karatsev has gone three sets in three of his four previous rounds.
Meanwhile, Rublev hasn’t dropped a set.
Aslan Karatsev vs Andrey Rublev: Tournament Comparisons
|Player||Aces/DFs||Avg. Match Time||Total Sets W/L||1st/2nd Serve pts % Won||Break pts Converted|
|Aslan Karatsev||25/21||2h16||8/3||75% / 53%||51.6%|
|Andrey Rublev||20/6||1h16||6/0||82% / 64%||42.3%|
Rublev’s Insane Record in 500 Tournaments
If Rublev hasn’t yet had that major breakthrough in a Masters 1000 or a Grand Slam tournament, he is running quite the streak in the 500-level events.
The first three titles came back to back last fall – a 15-match win streak.
Andrey Rublev in ATP 500s
|Tournament||No. of wins||Result|
|Dubai 2021||3||SF (so far)|
|St. Petersburg 2020||5||Champion|
Rublev the Strong Favorite
Given how well Karatsev has been playing, it’s somewhat surprising that Rublev is so heavily favored.
Perhaps it’s his record in 500-level tournaments or the ease with which he has dispatched his first three opponents.
But Karatsev has waited for these big moments his entire career, so he won’t be beaten physically.
It took him a while to get used to Jannik Sinner’s pace in their quarterfinal Thursday. It could be the same against Rublev, which is why we think he might be able to pull out the second set (+245).
Still, the younger Russian is the better player at this stage – fresh, serving really well and eager to add a ninth title to his resume.
Best Bet: Rublev in three sets (+300)
Stephanie gets the straight dope from the tennis insiders. On court, she has represented her country internationally. A BA in journalism led to years on the MLB beat and a decade covering tennis globally. She’s written for Postmedia, the Guardian, the New York Times and also publishes OpenCourt.ca.