Barcelona R3 previews and predictions: Zverev vs. Chung, Goffin vs. Khachanov

Hyeon Chung and Karen Khachanov have made surprising runs to the Barcelona third round. Things will get even tougher prior to the quarterfinals, however, as they are set for respective meetings on Thursday with Alexander Zverev and David Goffin.

(8) Alexander Zverev vs. (Q) Hyeon Chung

Zverev and Chung will be going head-to-head for the first time in their careers when the two 20-year-olds clash on Thursday. Whereas Chung’s progress has been slowed partly due to injuries, Zverev has soared up the rankings over the past two seasons. The German, who turned 20 last week, registers at 21st in the world thanks in part to a 14-7 record this season. He captured a title in Montpellier, reached the Miami quarterfinals, and made a third-round appearance in Monte-Carlo (lost to eventual champion Rafael Nadal 6-1, 6-1).

Chung, ranked 96th, is already in the midst of his best-ever showing at the ATP level. The South Korean qualified for the Barcelona main draw with straight-set defeats of Ernests Gulbis and Guido Pella before beating Denis Istomin 6-4, 6-4 and Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3, 6-4. Chung moves well, but his flat ball-striking is less than ideal for clay and simply lacks the firepower and the experience of his heavily-favored opponent.

Pick: Zverev in 2

(5) David Goffin vs. Karen Khachanov

Goffin and Khachanov will be squaring off for the second time in their careers and for the second time this spring. They recently collided at the Indian Wells Masters, where Goffin recovered from a break down in the third set to prevail 6-4, 3-6, 6-3. The red-hot Belgian is 24-8 this season, stands at fourth in the race to London, and has good chance of putting himself in third place in the race after this week. Goffin, a semifinalist in Monte-Carlo, opened in Barcelona with a 7-5, 6-0 rout of Nikoloz Basilashvili on Wednesday.

Khachanov is through to the last 16 from completely out of nowhere. The 20-year-old Russian had been a mere 4-11 at the ATP level in 2017 prior to this week, but he has picked up impressive clay-court wins–and both in straight sets–over Thomaz Bellucci and Pablo Cuevas. Scoring another upset on a surface that favors yet another opponent, however, may be too much to ask. Goffin is one of the best players in the world right now regardless of the court he is playing on, and his counter-punching should be way too much for Khachanov’s power.

Pick: Goffin in 2

27 Comments on Barcelona R3 previews and predictions: Zverev vs. Chung, Goffin vs. Khachanov

  1. I have to go along with Ricky’s picks here. Zverev should have an easy time if it with Chung in 2 sets.

    Khachanov may have gotten a surprise win against Cuevas, but Goffin should win in routine fashion in 2 sets.

  2. Zverev and Goffin in three sets. Zverev didn’t impress me in his match vs Almagro; Chung is a hard hitting guy so he may win a set if Zverev continues with his misfirings.

    Khachanov is another big serving and big hitting guy; Goffin takes the ball early but Khachanov may overpower him for a set.

    It seems to me that everyone is trying to play the same game on every surface these days; I see lots of hard hitting/big serving on the clay courts, not unlike playing on hard courts and grass. The traditional clay court style tennis (of playing from further back and point construction) is losing ground to the modern game of shorter point hard hitting.

  3. It”s a relief that Sascha lost.

    The only ones left I’d like to see take on Rafa in Barcelona are; Andy, Dominic, or maybe PCB. Andy might not be up to speed yet. Shouldn’t underestimate F-Lo in Barca too.

    • I am really surprised. Kachanov seems to be on a roll. Goffin has played great tennis so far this year, so this is a really good win for Khachanov.

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