ATP Sofia Open Day 1 Predictions Including Alejandro Davidovich Fokina vs Benoit Paire

Alejandro Davidovich Fokina at the US Open

The 2021 ATP Sofia Open gets underway on Monday, with the first three main draw matches taking place, including an intriguing first time encounter between Alejandro Davidovich Fokina and Benoit Paire. Elsewhere, Miomir Kecmanovic takes on the Bulgarian wildcard Adrian Andreev, whilst 6th seed Adrian Mannarinho is in action in the final match of the day against Gianluca Mager. Here are my predictions for Monday’s main draw action, as well as Andreas Seppi’s final qualifying match against Alexander Donski.

ATP Sofia Open Day 1 Predictions

Alexander Donski vs Andreas Seppi

Head to Head: First Meeting

Andreas Seppi has played a mixture of Challenger and ATP Tour events this season, and his ranking currently resides at #87. Highlights for the Italian this season include a run to the quarterfinals of Eastbourne and at the US Open, where the experienced Italian recorded two impressive wins over Marton Fucsovics and Hubert Hurkacz in a run to the third round, where he was defeated by Oscar Otte. Seppi has struggled to win back-to-back matches consistently on the main tour this season. But on his day, he can still compete with the very best players in the world.

Alexander Donski is somewhat of an unknown quantity at this level and the Bulgarian received a wildcard into the qualifying draw this week. Donski has played mainly on the ITF Futures Tour this season and his best result was a run to the semifinals at the ITF Tunisia F18 event in May. The Bulgarian will have the home crowd on his side, however I expect Seppi to have too much for him and I think the Italian’s experience and firepower will contribute to a straight sets win for the Italian.
Prediction: Seppi in 2

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Adrian Andreev vs Miomir Kecmanovic

Head to Head: First Meeting

It would be fair to say that Miomir Kecmanovic has failed to catch fire and reach his potential this season. There have been glimpses of form, with the Serbian making runs to the quarterfinals at the Great Ocean Road Open and at Belgrade 1, as well as reaching the semifinals of the Argentina Open. However, much likes Andreas Seppi, Kecmanovic has struggled to be consistent week in week out on the main tour, and the Serbian will be looking to find some form heading into the end of the season, so he has some positive ground to build on for next season.

Adrian Andreev has mainly played on the Challenger and Futures tour this season, however the Bulgarian has played three ATP Tour events and recorded an impressive win over Lloyd Harris in Singapore. Andreev was the recipient of a wildcard into the main draw and with the home crowd behind him and given Kecmanovic’s poor form, I can see Andreev being able to win a set. However, I think that it is only a matter of time before Kecmanovic begins to find his form and I think the Serb will have too much in the end for the Bulgarian.
Prediction: Kecmanovic in 3

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Gianluca Mager vs Adrian Mannarino

Head to Head: First Meeting

Gianluca Mager and played predominantly on the clay this season, and the Italian has enjoyed some good form on both the Challenger and Main Tour. The season started well for Mager with a run to the quarterfinals at Delray Beach. In April, Mager won the Marbella Challenger and reached the quarterfinals of Belgrade 1. In July, Mager made his third Tour quarterfinal of the season in Kitzb├╝hel, a run that included an impressive win over Albert Ramos Vinolas in the second round. However, Since then Mager has not been able to win back to back matches in a Tour event so the Italian is looking for form.

Adrian Mannarino enjoyed a good start to the season by reaching the third round of the Australian Open. Soon after, he reached the quarterfinals of the Singapore Open. Despite a relatively barren clay court season, Mannarino produced his best tennis during the grass court swing. The Frenchman reached the semifinals in Mallorca and played a fantastic match against Roger Federer in the first round of Wimbledon, which he could have won had he not had to retire before the start of the fifth set due to injury.

This should be a close three set match as neither player has the firepower to blast through their opponent. However, I think Mannarino is the more consistent of the two. I predict the Frenchman to record a tight three set win.
Prediction: Mannarino in 3

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Alejandro Davidovich Fokina vs Benoit Paire

Head to Head: First Meeting

Alejandro Davidovich Fokina has been one of the most impressive players of the 2021 season. The Spaniard was one of the most consistent players of the clay court swing, reaching his first Masters 1000 quarterfinal in Monte Carlo and his first Grand Slam quarterfinal at Roland Garros. However, it is fair to say that the Spaniard’s form has tapered off somewhat since Paris. Last week in Metz was the first time that Davidovich Fokina has won back-to-back matches since Eastbourne, and he wasn’t able to defeat Nikoloz Basilashvili despite having match points.

Benoit Paire has had much publicized mental health struggles this year, and the Frenchman had a particularly barren start to the season, where he was struggling to win matches on the ATP Tour. However, since the summer Paire has found some form, reaching the quarterfinals in Hamburg, Gstaad and most notably at the Cincinnati Masters. However, last week the Frenchman lost in the opening round of the Astana Open, so he has had his ups and downs with consistency.

I think this will be another close match if the Frenchman turns up with the right mindset. Davidovich Fokina has had his problems on serve and is still struggling to find his best tennis. I think this will be a tight three setter that could go either way. However, I think the Spaniard will just get the win.
Prediction: Davidovich Fokina in 3

Main Photo from Getty.


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