The top three seeds are still in contention for the 2021 ATP Serbia Open title in Belgrade. The only contender who managed to infiltrate the final four is Taro Daniel, who earned his spot in the main draw as a lucky loser. Will Novak Djokovic and Matteo Berrettini meet in the most likely final? Or can Aslan Karatsev or Daniel score an upset?
ATP Belgrade Semifinal Predictions
Taro Daniel vs Matteo Berrettini
Head-to-head: Daniel 1-0
Taro Daniel lost to Gianluca Mager in the last round of qualifying, but after taking a lucky loser spot, he’s managed to make a lot out of the opportunity. Is that chance maxed out already or not? That is the big question. On Friday, he defeated Federico Delbonis, coming back from the brink of defeat at 1-4 in the deciding set.
Matteo Berrettini came to Belgrade really short on match practice, having competed just once since the Australian Open. The Italian had a few great wins at the ATP Cup and the Australian Open early in the year and despite missing almost two months, he’s continuing that fine form on the Serbian clay. Berrettini is yet to drop serve this week, saving all nine break points faced.
If the Italian’s serving disposition is as brilliant as against Filip Krajinovic and Marco Cecchinato (14 aces combined), then there shouldn’t be much that Daniel can do. Exposing Berrettini’s backhand in extended rallies can be a way to get into this match, but the power of the Italian will likely be overwhelming for his opponent.
Prediction: Berrettini in 2
Novak Djokovic vs Aslan Karatsev
Head-to-head: Djokovic 1-0
Aslan Karatsev basically hasn’t put a foot wrong since the restart last year, and finds himself in the third semifinal of his career (Australian Open, Dubai). The Russian is constantly proving that all the success isn’t an accident and keeps breaking new barriers. This week, Karatsev comfortably dispatched Gianluca Mager and survived Aljaz Bedene in a third set tie-breaker.
There were a lot of doubts regarding Novak Djokovic’s form coming into this week. While they are not yet fully answered, the Serbian has been clinical thus far, dropping just six games in two matches. Most of his issues on clay feel like they’ve been connected to dictating the play and injecting pace. In this matchup, he will probably be more in his element–being forced to focus on reactive play. Karatsev plays tennis with an insane amount of risk. While that may be enough to keep Djokovic on the back foot, consistency usually does not go along with extreme aggression. He probably won’t be able to keep it up against the best defender in the game.
Prediction: Djokovic in 2
Main Photo from Getty.