ATP 2018 Kremlin Cup Draw: Preview & Analysis

Oct 18 5 min read

5:25 am

KAREN KHACHANOV on Flickr by Tennis Streaming under CC2.0

The 2018 Kremlin Cup will be the 29th edition for the men and players will contest at the Olympic Stadium to bag 250 points that will be rewarded to the winner. The ATP 250 event will see Marco Cecchinato as the top seed whereas defending champion Damir Dzumhur is seeded sixth. Dzumhur won the titles at St. Petersburg and Moscow last year and is one of the four men to win both the Russian tournaments. Last year's runner-up Ricardas Berankis enters as a lucky loser after Jeremy Chardy withdrew due to a leg injury. Here is how the players are drawn against each other at the Kremlin Cup:

Top Half: Cecchinato, Krajinovic, Dzumhur, Klizan

Since reaching the final at Roland Garros this year and winning the title at Umag, Marco Cecchinato has been out of form, losing eight of his 12 matches. The World No.21 has received a bye in the opening round in his maiden appearance at Moscow and awaits Adrian Mannarino or wildcard entrant Evgeny Karlovskiy in the next round. Mannarino finished as a semi-finalist last year at Moscow and makes his third appearance at the event in 2018. The Frenchman is having the worst season of his career, by limping to a win-loss record of 21-27 so far. Benoit Paire and Mischa Zverev will face each other for the fifth time at Moscow. Zverev makes his fourth appearance at Moscow and his best result at the event came a decade back when he reached the semi-finals. He is tied with Paire at 2-2 in the head to head record, however, Paire won their last two meetings. Qualifier Egor Gerasimov will face defending champion Damir Dzumhur in the first round. Dzumhur is currently on a three-match losing streak but won his lone encounter against Gerasimov in 2015 at the Mersin Challenger. The winner will face Paire or Zverev in the next round.

Including their Challenger circuit meetings and their lone Davis Cup meeting, Mikhail Kukushkin will face Evgeny Donskoy for the 10th time in his career. Kukushkin leads the rivalry 6-3 including 6-1 on hard courts. This will be Donskoy's 10th appearance in the main draw and his best result was reaching the semis in 2015. Kukushkin makes his ninth appearance at Moscow and his best result was finishing as the runner-up in 2013. The winner will face fourth seed Filip Krajinovic, who received a bye into the second round. While Krajinovic is yet to face Kukushkin, the Serbian has a 2-0 lead over Donskoy in the head to head record. In his third appearance, Krajinovic will look forward to getting past the Round of 16 for the first time at Moscow. Pierre Hugues-Herbert makes his debut at Moscow and will face qualifier Alexander Bublik in the first round. The winner will face Andreas Seppi or Martin Klizan in the next round. 2012 champion Andreas Seppi has reached the quarter-finals or better in his last four appearances at Moscow. However, the Italian has failed to make it past the second round in the eight tournaments he entered since reaching the quarter-finals at Halle. Seppi face Klizan, who makes his debut at Moscow. Currently ranked No.47, Klizan won the title at Kitzbuhel and finished as the runner-up at St. Petersburg earlier this year. Both players have met four times on the pro circuit and have won two matches apiece.

Probable semi-finals: Cecchinato vs Krajinovic

Bottom Half: Medvedev, Khachanov, Kyrgios, Lajovic

Dusan Lajovic makes his sixth main draw appearance at Moscow but has made it to the Round of 16 only twice. The Serbian will face qualifier Filip Horansky in the first round. Second seed Daniil Medvedev has received a bye into the second round and awaits the winner of the match between Lajovic and Horanksy. Medvedev, who won the Tokyo Open this year has made it to the quarter-finals at Moscow in each of the last two years. Aljaz Bedene enters Moscow after winning the title at the Orleans Challenger in late September. He will be up against Laslo Djere, who makes his second appearance at Moscow, having lost in the Round of 16 last year. Bedene won their lone meeting on the pro circuit at Budapest last year. The winner will face Ricardas Berankis or Denis Istomin in the next round. Istomin won the Almaty Challenger earlier this month and will return to Moscow after three years to make his third appearance at the event. Berankis reached the final last year and leads Istomin 1-0 in the head to head record.

Fifth seed Nick Kyrgios will face home favourite Andrey Rublev in the first round. Rublev has made three main draw appearances at Moscow and lost in the first round each time. Kyrgios makes his debut at Moscow after accepting a wildcard. The winner will face Malek Jaziri or Mirza Basic in the second round. In career meetings, Jaziri and Basic have won one match apiece. The Tunisian comes to Moscow after defeating Alexander Zverev at the China Open before losing to eventual champion Nikoloz Basilashvili. A win for Jaziri would mean that he will record at least 40 wins in a season for the seventh time in his career. Kyrgios leads Jaziri 3-0 and is yet to face Basic on pro circuit. 2013 quarter-finalist and third seed Karen Khachanov got a wildcard to his home event. The Russian is 2-3 since his loss to Rafael Nadal at the US Open and will try to find his form in front of his home crowd. The World No.26 awaits Lukas Rosol or Matteo Berrettini in the second round. Berrettini makes his debut at Moscow whereas Rosol makes his fifth appearance. Kyrgios and Khachanov are likely to face each other for the first time in the quarter-finals if they can manage to get past their relatively easy draws up until the final eight stage.

Probable semi-finals: Khachanov vs Medvedev