ATP Croatia Open Day 1 Predictions Including Marco Cecchinato vs Aljaz Bedene

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The key moments of the thrilling 2019 Wimbledon men’s final may still be fresh in the memory, but the tennis calendar will shift now back to the European clay. The Croatia Open in Umag is one of three ATP events this week and should offer plenty of exciting action with a number of excellent clay-courters in the draw. But who will advance on day one?

Croatia Open Day One Predictions

Cedrik-Marcel Stebe vs Jiri Vesely

Head-to-head: First meeting

Stebe used a protected ranking to get into the event. The German is on the comeback trail following many health issues, but so far he has struggled. In fact, Stebe hasn’t won a match on the Challenger tour or the main tour since the 2017 Sibiu Challenger. Vesely just made the Wimbledon third round and although the transition back to clay does not always come so easy, he’s got the advantage of having played a lot more matches this year than his opponent and clay is the left-handed Czech’s favorite surface.

Prediction: Vesely in 2
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Aljaz Bedene vs Marco Cecchinato

Head-to-head: Bedene 6-0 Cecchinato

A pretty surprising head-to-head to say the least. Cecchinato is a very crafty clay-court player but he hasn’t managed to follow up his 2018 season, which included a maiden Grand Slam semifinal appearance at Roland Garros. The Italian was up two sets to love against Nicolas Mahut in the first round this year but eventually lost the match, costing him 720 ranking points. Nevertheless, after a short-lived grass-court campaign, Cecchinato is back on his favorite surface and will face a familiar foe, Aljaz Bedene.

The Slovenian has had his number in their previous meetings, which include a match this year on the clay in Rio De Janeiro. However, this might be a great opportunity for the Italian to avenge those defeats, as their last match was very close and it’s not like Bedene has done anything of note since. Expect Cecchinato to have a good shot at finally getting a win in this surprisingly lop-sided rivalry.

Prediction: Cecchinato in 3
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Pedro Sousa vs Jannik Sinner

Head-to-head: First meeting

Sinner is one of the breakthrough talents of this year’s ATP Challenger tour, taking a title in Bergamo and losing in Ostrava final to Kamil Majchrzak. The Italian even made his mark on the ATP Tour, defeating Steve Johnson in Rome. A very good prospect, Sinner is a natural clay-courter and is surely capable of pulling off a good run at the ATP 250 level. Sousa won a Challenger tournament in Blois a month ago but has had a couple of nasty losses since, getting beaten in straight sets by Frederico Silva and Benjamin Hassan. It should be a good opportunity to continue what has been a remarkable season for the 17-year-old.

Prediction: Sinner in 3
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Tommy Robredo vs Salvatore Caruso

Head-to-head: Robredo 2-0 Caruso

In the final round of qualifying at the Croatia Open, Tommy Robredo will face Salvatore Caruso. Robredo is trying to advance to the main draw at tour level for the first time since US Open 2018. A couple of Challenger titles in Poznań and Parma allowed him to get his ranking high enough to be able to find himself in the qualifying draws for ATP Tour events. The Spaniard is a shadow of the player he once was but that shadow can still have very good patches of play.

The 2013 champion faces Salvatore Caruso who’s in the best form of his career. The Italian put up a very decent showing at the French Open, defeating Jaume Munar and Gilles Simon before ultimately losing to Novak Djokovic in the third round. It will be a hard fought battle but expect the more experienced Spaniard to be really hungry to get back to the highest competition level and take the win.

Prediction: Robredo in 3

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