Aslan Karatsev has proven his run to the Australian Open semifinal was no fluke and that he belongs on the sport’s biggest stages.

After losing to Dominic Thiem in a tight three-setter in Doha, Karatsev has suffered no major letdown, scoring rock-solid wins over Egor Gerasimov, Dan Evans and Lorenzo Sonego en route to the quarterfinals in Dubai, where he will next face the talented teenager Jannik Sinner.

Sinner has been winning matches the hard way, first defeating Alexander Bublik, 2-6, 7-6 (2), 6-4, and then Roberto Bautista Agut, 6-4, 3-6, 7-5. According to the oddsmakers, Sinner is listed as a solid -170 favorite, which seems a tad aggressive given Karatsev's splendid form.

Thursday is a bad day to be a tennis ball in Dubai, as Karatsev and Sinner are two of the bigger ball-strikers in the world. Both prefer their backhand wing, but can still inflict plenty of damage with their forehand.

Sinner’s crosscourt forehand will be one of the keys in this match, as Karatsev doesn’t miss his backhand very often. A sharp crosscourt forehand will go a long way in his effort to open up the court and force the Russian to defend.

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The Pick: Aslan Karatsev vs. Jannik Sinner, Dubai quarterfinals

The Italian’s finesse is not a major strength, but he’ll need to figure out a way to test Karatsev’s volleys. This was a smart play, and few hit their backhand passing shot better than Sinner.

The Pick: Aslan Karatsev vs. Jannik Sinner, Dubai quarterfinals

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Sinner must serve well, as Karatsev’s signature shot might be his second serve return. He takes it early and punishes clean winners with alarming regularity.

The Pick: Aslan Karatsev vs. Jannik Sinner, Dubai quarterfinals

The oddsmakers list the teenager as a favorite, but if Karatsev keeps hitting his forehand like this, he should have the advantage.

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The Pick: Aslan Karatsev vs. Jannik Sinner, Dubai quarterfinals

This match is a total toss-up, but given his incredible form all season, the best bet is to take the Russian as an underdog. Though Sinner played fantastically against Bautista Agut, the Spaniard retreated far behind the baseline in many rallies.

Sinner will likely feel rushed in the early stages against the baseline-hugging Karatsev. You’re guess is as good as mine, but look for the Russian to crush his way to victory.

The Pick: Aslan Karatsev

The Pick: Aslan Karatsev vs. Jannik Sinner, Dubai quarterfinals

The Pick: Aslan Karatsev vs. Jannik Sinner, Dubai quarterfinals