The quarterfinal matches at the ATP Belgrade Open are set. World No. 1 Novak Djokovic will headline what promises to be an entertaining day of tennis at the Novak Tennis Centre.
Who will reach the semifinals?
ATP Belgrade Quarterfinal Predictions
Fernando Verdasco vs Alex Molcan
Head-to-head: first meeting
Alex Molcan produced the first double-bagel of 2021 ATP season, beating Pedja Krstin 6-0 6-0 in just over an hour. Next up will be Fernando Verdasco, who showed little empathy for Adrian Mannarino. The Frenchman’s last clay court match win came in 2019 and Verdasco dismissed him in two, fairly routine sets, winning 7-6 6-0 to reach his first quarterfinal of the season.
There are a lot of similarities between these two players aside from being lefthanders. Both are versatile baseliners who possess a mammoth topspin. But Molcan has established himself as one of the premier performers on clay on the Challenger Tour this year, and this has been a breakthrough week for him on the main tour. The Slovak looks nailed on to extend his stay in Belgrade.
Prediction: Molcan in 3
Dusan Lajovic vs Andrej Martin
Head-to-head: Lajovic 3-0 Martin
Lajovic’s form coming to Belgrade has been rather uninspiring. He failed to win a single match in his previous four tournaments on clay. His Monte Carlo finalist points from 2019 have come off, and he has fallen almost 10 spots below the rankings. He is unlikely to be seeded for Roland Garros. And it is not like his opponent Andrej Martin has fared any better. The Slovak is 14-14 for the season but has found some form this week. He came through the qualifiers and stunned world #31 Nikoloz Basilashvili in the previous round. However, home advantage could be a crucial factor in this one.
Prediction: Lajovic in 3
Federico Delbonis vs Roberto Carballes Baena
Head-to-head: Carballes Baena 1-0 Delbonis
Federico Delbonis won his 22nd match of the season in three-hour slugfest, and remarkably none of those have come outside clay. But it was victory earned under the unlikeliest of circumstances. He won fewer total points than his opponent Thiago Monteiro, was less effective in both first and second-serve points won. Carballes Baena, meanwhile, fought off Gael Monfils in a third-set tiebreak Wednesday night. Still, Delbonis is the better player on average, so he’s safer to win.
Prediction: Delbonis in 3
Novak Djokovic vs Federico Coria
Head-to-head: first meeting
Peak for Paris is Djokovic’s mantra as he gears up to take on Federico Coria in the quarterfinal round of the ATP Belgrade Open. The Serbian star picked up the 951st win of his illustrious career in beating Mats Moraing, tying up Guillermo Vilas for fifth-most match wins in the Open Era. But it was not a cushy afternoon by any means for the world #1 who needed to regroup after a lapse in concentration in the second set.
Coria, on his part, knocked out Serbian teenager Marko Topo and the experienced Pablo Cuevas to reach this stage. Djokovic has scouted Coria this week by watching him personally in his opening-round win against the 17-year-old Topo. Assuming Djokovic is not affected by heat exhaustion, which appeared to be the case momentarily against Moraing, he should have a comfortable afternoon against the Argentine lefty.
Prediction: Djokovic in 2
Main Photo from Getty.