Chengdu QF previews and predictions: Thiem vs. Ramos-Vinolas, Lopez vs. Khachanov

Dominic Thiem’s rigorous 2016 schedule will add yet another match when he takes the court against Albert Ramos-Vinolas on Friday in Chengdu. Feliciano Lopez and Karen Khachanov are also aiming for a place in the semifinals.

(1) Dominic Thiem vs. (5) Albert Ramos-Vinolas

Thiem has already played 74 matches this season as he heads into quarterfinal action at the Chengdu Open on Friday. The 10th-ranked Austrian took the court a ridiculous 60 times prior to Wimbledon, and since then he has retired twice (in Toronto and at the U.S. Open) in addition to an opening Kitzbuhel loss to countryman Jurgen Melzer. Thiem bounced back from a knee injury sustained in New York to finish runner-up last week on the indoor hard courts of Metz (lost to Lucas Pouille). This week’s No. 1 seed opened on Thursday with a 6-4, 6-4 defeat of Chinese wild card Di Wu.
Thiem 1
Up next for Thiem on Friday is a first-ever meeting with Ramos-Vinolas, who has advanced in Chengdu with three-set wins over Michael Berrer and Yen-Hsun Lu. The 31st-ranked Spaniard had been just 1-6 in his last seven matches prior to this week. Following two tough outings, Ramos-Vinolas may not have enough left in the tank to put up a serious challenge against a top-10 opponent.

Pick: Thiem in 2

Karen Khachanov vs. (4) Feliciano Lopez

Lopez and Khachanov will also be going head-to-head for the first time in their careers on Friday. Reaching an ATP quarterfinal is not a first for Khachanov, but it has not exactly been a common occurrence in the early stages of his career. The 20-year-old Russian also advanced to the last eight on the clay courts of Kitzbuhel. Khachanov, who will be back in the top 100 next week, is still alive in Chengdu following victories over Joao Sousa and Adrian Mannarino.

Fifteen years his opponent’s senior, Lopez is still going strong at 35. He is 28-19 for the season and registers at a solid 27th in the world. The Spaniard earned an opening-round bye as the No. 4 seed before taking care of Juan Monaco 6-3, 7-5 on Tuesday. In the latter stages of an ATP event, Lopez should have too much experience for Khachanov during the high-pressure moments.

Pick: Lopez in 3

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