It’s difficult to think of two better stories on the men’s side in 2021 than the incredible rankings rise of both Aslan Karatsev and Jenson Brooksby. Ranked No. 292 in January, the 27-year-old Russian—now ranked 26—boasts a 21-8 record on the season to go along with a title in Dubai and an Australian Open semifinal.

11-year ATP Tour veteran Denis Kudla says this about the Russian: “I’ve never seen a mid-career surge like his before, nothing even close."

Loic Wacziak / FFT

Loic Wacziak / FFT


Meanwhile, the 20-year-old Brooksby has similarly skyrocketed from No. 310 to his career high of No. 163, thanks to three 2021 Challenger titles and a 13-match clay-court winning streak. Nothing about his groundstrokes or serve suggest he belongs among the game's very best, but in his still-brief career he's shown a refusal to lose.

Karatsev is listed as a sizable -900 favorite and projected to win by 6.5 games according to DraftKings Sportsbook. It’s never wise to count out a player with Brooksby’s never-quit mentality, but he may be in for a rude awakening on Tuesday.

Brooksby’s serve needs improvement, and Karatsev’s biggest strength might be his return. This combination could prove too much for the American, but if you've never seen him play, do yourself a favor and tune in. You're sure to be entertained.

Karatsev strikes clean winners off first and second serves with alarming regularity. 

There is a good chance that Brooksby’s unorthodox game causes problems for Karatsev, but the Russian will be the stiffest competition the American has faced all season. I wouldn’t recommend betting this match, but if Karatsev gets hot, he should cover his 6.5 game spread.

The Pick: Aslan Karatsev -6.5