After an entertaining week of tennis at the ATP Sardinia Open, just two men are left in contention for the title at the final clay-court event of this abbreviated season. But will it be Marco Cecchinato or Laslo Djere who claims the title in Sardinia?
ATP Sardinia Open Final Prediction
Marco Cecchinato vs Laslo Djere
Head-to-head: Cecchinato 2-0 Djere
Cecchinato arrived at the ATP Sardinia Open in solid form. The Italian qualified into the main draw in Rome and Paris, going on to reach the second round at the Italian Open and the third round at Roland Garros. He backed that up by reaching the quarterfinals at the Parma Challenger. Though it was a run of results that paled beside his former glories, it nonetheless suggested that Cecchinato was getting back towards his best on the clay.
And so it has proved in Sardinia. In the first round, he edged out his compatriot Gianluca Mager, 5-7 7-6 6-2, before beating seventh seed Tommy Paul, 7-6 6-4, to reach the quarterfinals, his first of the season at ATP-level. There, he rallied from a set down to beat the experienced Albert Ramos Vinolas to set up a semifinal clash with lucky loser Danilo Petrovic. The Serbian had defied the odds to beat Roberto Carballes Baena and Federico Delbonis, but was outclassed by Cecchinato, who won 6-1 6-0.
Laslo Djere has also played some fine tennis this week. He opened his campaign with a comprehensive 6-3 6-1 win over Sumit Nagal and he then upset his compatriot Dusan Lajovic, the second seed at the ATP Sardinia Open, in straight-sets. In the quarterfinals, Djere got the better of the big-hitting Jiri Vesely, 6-4 6-4, and he then booked his spot in his second ATP final when Italian young gun Lorenzo Musetti retired trailing 6-2 2-6 1-4.
However, there are reasons to be concerned about his chances heading into the final. Musetti troubled the Serbian with his powerful hitting from the back of the court and may well have won the match had injury not intervened. Cecchinato will surely adopt a similar approach, with the Italian possessing plenty of power off the ground and able to strike winners with both his forehand and backhand.
He has managed to overpower Djere in both of their previous meetings, with the Italian recording a 6-2 6-2 win in the final at a Challenger event in Milan in 2016 and a 6-4 6-1 win in the quarterfinals at the Croatia Open two years later. Djere has perhaps improved in the interim, and it should not be overlooked that he is the higher-ranked player. But with Cecchinato having been playing the better tennis and possessing a distinct advantage in their head-to-head, it is hard to look past the Italian.
Prediction: Cecchinato in 3
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