World No.1 Novak Djokovic will lead the tennis brigade on Day 3 of the ATP Belgrade Open. We have predictions of all four second-round matches happening on Tuesday.
Who will advance?
ATP Belgrade Day 3 Predictions
Pablo Cuevas vs Federico Coria
Head-to-head: Cuevas 2-0 Coria
Pablo Cuevas made a real statement of intent in Geneva to those exaggerating his decline. But in fairness, his form last week came a bit as a shock when he made the semifinals as a qualifier. And consequently, he is one of the biggest movers in the revised rankings this week, re-entering the top 100. Cuevas maintained that fine form in the opening round in Belgrade with a comfortable straight-sets win over Miomir Kecmanovic. The Uruguayan is in a salvage operation to pick up what is left of this clay swing. His next opponent Federico Coria has been in a downward spiral since the conclusion of the Golden Swing. He is yet to string back-to-back wins since Cordoba. If Cuevas can stay consistent from the baseline by serving accurately and taking an aggressive approach on the return, just like he did against Kecmanovic, he should pull through.
Prediction: Cuevas in 3
Alex Molcan vs Pedja Krstin
Head-to-head: First meeting
With a single match win in six tournaments, Pedja Krstin has been one of the worst-performing players on the Challenger Tour this year. And it was ironic how he managed to turn things around with a wildcard entrant in Belgrade. The Serbian picked up his maiden main draw win at tour level with an upset victory over 90th ranked Kwon Soon-woo. And a spot in the quarterfinals will be up for grabs when he plays 255th ranked Alex Molcan. Can he defy the odds again? It would certainly be another major upset.
However, the 23-year-old Slovak is a vastly superior player. Molcan has got some serious firepower and possesses a mammoth topspin on his forehand, highlighted by his ability to produce impressive results on the Challenger Tour. Krstin might keep this close though.
Prediction: Molcan in 3
Fernando Verdasco vs Adrian Mannarino
Head-to-head: Verdasco 2-2 Mannarino
This will be the first meeting on clay between these two players. But where do you start? Both players have been woefully short on fitness and match wins. Verdasco snapped his losing streak on Monday, beating Lucas Pouille in straight sets. Mannarino, on his part, is still chasing for that elusive first win on clay since 2019. This is a real coin toss, but I think Verdasco’s penchant for clay should tilt this match in his favor.
Prediction: Verdasco in 2
Novak Djokovic vs Mats Moraing
Head-to-head: First meeting
Djokovic’s shrewd management of his schedule has been downplayed in recent seasons, which is why his longevity whilst staying at the top is something to admire. He hardly finds a slot in his calendar to play the ATP 250s. And a second appearance at this level in as many weeks came as a surprise. But given that both events are on home soil, he was always the biggest draw. Moreover, he talked about working on specific details in his game in order to peak for Paris. He opens up against a player ranked over 250 spots below him in the rankings.
Mats Moraing has made the most of his second opportunity in Belgrade. He lost quite handily to Andrej Martin in the final round of qualifying but earned a spot in the main draw as a lucky loser. And he achieved a personal milestone in beating Egor Gerasimov on Monday, saving three match points in the process. At 28, it was his first main draw win at tour level which is quite astonishing. But he is unlikely to add a second in quick succession.
Prediction: Djokovic in 2
Main Photo from Getty.