It seems like Wednesday at the 2021 ATP Serbia Open in Belgrade will be the day we’ll find answers to a few questions that popped up recently. What’s Matteo Berrettini’s current disposition? How will Novak Djokovic react to losing to Dan Evans in Monte Carlo? We might have a better understanding of these dilemmas soon and with that in mind, who do you think will advance to the quarterfinals?
ATP Belgrade Day 3 Predictions
Arthur Rinderknech vs Miomir Kecmanovic
Head-to-head: First meeting
There’s not much about Arthur Rinderknech’s game that makes you think he’d do well on clay but the Frenchman sure found the way to transfer his all-court aggression to the dirt this week. The 25-year-old is yet to lose a set in three matches but Miomir Kecmanovic will be a massive step up in competition. The Serbian is playing on home ground and while he’ll be without David Nalbandian’s assist this week, he’s a much more established clay-court player at this level, having claimed his maiden ATP title in Kitzbuhel last year. He also had to demonstrate his problem-solving ability in a tight first-round win over Facundo Bagnis. Expect drama, but Kecmanovic should be too solid.
Prediction: Kecmanovic in 3
Filip Krajinovic vs Nikola Milojevic
Head-to-head: Milojevic 1-0
Nikola Milojevic pulled a stunning upset over Filip Krajinovic at last year’s French Open. The big question is can he repeat that feat here? You might not have seen Milojevic a lot in tour-level events this year but he’s had a really solid Challenger campaign with a title at Zadar a couple of weeks ago. He was also excellent in his first-round win over Federico Coria. Krajinovic is usually among the most solid top players, rarely dropping below a certain level or losing to a much lower-ranked opponent. That one loss to Milojevic seems just a small sample size and nothing suggests it’s any sort of matchup issue. Still, his compatriot is a great competitor and shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Prediction: Krajinovic in 3
Marco Cecchinato vs Matteo Berrettini
Head-to-head: Cecchinato 1-0
Expect fireworks here. Matteo Berrettini played only one match since the Australian Open, losing to Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in Monte Carlo last week. The power of his serve and forehand can help him shred through opponents even on the slowest courts but if there’s any setting where Marco Cecchinato could counteract it with his variety, that’s clay. The older of the Italians isn’t having his best-ever season, he also rarely looks like the player who reached Roland Garros semifinals three years ago. But with just as many question marks over Berrettini’s head, picking the upset here is really tempting.
Prediction: Cecchinato in 3
Novak Djokovic vs Soon-Woo Kwon
Head-to-head: First meeting
This is just Soon-Woo Kwon’s 10th professional event on clay and looking at how he’s doing on this surface in 2021, you got to wonder why he’s not competing on it more. The South Korean made the quarterfinals in Marbella and scored a win over Roberto Carballes Baena in the opening round here. But enough is enough. Novak Djokovic lost early (for his standards) in Monte Carlo and while you may wonder what it will mean for his motivation and whether it’s a sign of weakness, the Serbian will simply need a better opponent with more clay-court pedigree to be under any threat this week.
Prediction: Djokovic in 2
Main Photo from Getty.