“I hope I don’t play you anymore this year,” said Marton Fucsvovics to Andrey Rublev after losing in straight sets for the second time this month. Fucsovic’s sentiment is likely shared by everyone on tour, except perhaps Rublev’s semifinal opponent, Aslan Karatsev, who will surely be fired up at the opportunity to test his game against his countryman.

Rublev and Karatsev stormed to the Doha doubles title last week, but they aren’t as familiar with each other’s tennis as one would think.

“We never really practice together, it’s going to be really interesting,” Rublev said. “He’ll have nothing to lose tomorrow and it’s going to be a great challenge for me.”

Indeed, Karatsev will have nothing to lose, but that’s been the case all season. This year, he's only lost to world No. 1 Novak Djokovic in Melbourne and No. 4 Dominic Thiem in Doha. Meanwhile, Rublev will have plenty to lose, as he is closing in on the all-time ATP 500 match win-streak set by Roger Federer at 28. Rublev has now won 23-straight matches at the 500 level.

According to the oddsmakers, Rublev is once again a massive -500 favorite and projected to win by 4.5 total games. Rublev will probably win, but Karatsev deserves a bit more respect than a routine 6-3, 6-4 scoreline.

There aren’t many ways to beat Rublev, but hitting hard to his forehand is certainly not one of them. Marcos Giron, who recently lost to Rublev in Rotterdam, had this to say, “His forehand is wild. He’s relentless. He doesn’t give up any ground on the baseline, but somehow he’s able to open up the court at the same time. It’s crazy.”

Look for Karatsev to pummel his crosscourt backhand. There's not much the world No. 42 can do if  Rublev can handle his pace and depth, but that’s a big if, because Karatsev’s backhand is world-class.

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The Pick: Andrey Rublev vs. Aslan Karatsev, Dubai semifinal

Apparently so is his return. It's difficult to remember the last time a player struck this many clean winners off his opponents’ first-serve.

The Pick: Andrey Rublev vs. Aslan Karatsev, Dubai semifinal

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Rublev will likely enjoy Karatsev’s pace, so we should be in for some jaw-dropping rallies. It’s important for Karatsev to win the first set, as Rublev might be the most dangerous frontrunner in the game that's not named Novak Djokovic. But if Rublev is able to mix in shots like this to compliment his unrelenting pace, it will be a long day for Karatsev.

The Pick: Andrey Rublev vs. Aslan Karatsev, Dubai semifinal

Only a fool would bet against Andrey Rublev, especially at an ATP 500, but asking him to beat an on-fire player like Karatsev by five total games is too much. The safe bet is to take Karatsev to cover his 4.5 game spread.

The Pick: Andrey Rublev to win, Aslan Karatsev to lose by less than 4.5 games

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The Pick: Andrey Rublev vs. Aslan Karatsev, Dubai semifinal

The Pick: Andrey Rublev vs. Aslan Karatsev, Dubai semifinal