Only one ranking place separates Karen Khachanov (ranked 11th in the ATP singles ranking) and Stefanos Tsitsipas (ranked 12th in the ATP singles ranking) but there is a gulf between them in terms of their style of play. We could talk about the Australian open 2019.
The Greek played better and reached his maiden Slam semifinal which he lost against Rafael Nadal. Khachanov's best results at the Slams have been reaching the fourth round at the French Open and Wimbledon. But the Russian has a game more suited to the slower surfaces (the most recent example being his loss in Doha to Stan Wawrinka in the opening round) while Tsitsipas is ever-ready to come to the net and throw himself to get a volley back across.
But who will have a better 2019 season? Despite his early loss in Doha, Khachanov has everything to be able to play a high-level in 2019. The performances shown by the Russian in 2018 amazed the world, and finally confirmed what has proved to be an undisputed talent, perhaps less spectacular than that of Tsitsipas, but much more effective and concrete.
And it is precisely this concreteness that could be the decisive factor. In 2018, Khachanov won three titles, including the Rolex Paris Masters. Tsitsipas had a chance to play the Rogers Cup final against Rafael Nadal, but the Spaniard was unbeatable on that day.
Khachanov's powerful forehand and service are the winning weapons of his game. Despite his height (he stands at 1.98 cm) the Russian also has good mobility, both in the advancing movements and in the lateral movements.
From the psychological point of view, the Russian has shown an excellent mental solidity and, in general, a fair regularity in the results. But Tsitsipas is no slouch either, both in terms of his game or his mentality. He cut a sorry figure after his loss to Nadal in Australia but if he is able to play with the same mentality he displayed in his match against Federer, there is no reason why he shouldn't succeed.
In conclusion, we can say that Khachanov and Tsitsipas, if they respect everyone's expectations about them, could be considered the real young stars of 2019, with Tsitsipas having some more weapons at disposal. ALSO READ: 2019 ATP season preview!