ATP Belgrade Day 1 Predictions Including Cristian Garin vs Holger Rune

Cristian Garin in action ahead of the ATP Belgrade Open.

The ATP Tour made its way back to Serbia in 2021 for the first time since 2012 with the ATP Belgrade Open clay-court event. This is its second year back in the Serbian capital at the Novak Tennis Center.

ATP Belgrade Day 1 Predictions

Fabio Fognini vs Marco Cecchinato

Head-to-head: Fognini 1-0 Cecchinato

In an all-Italian battle, Fabio Fognini and Marco Cecchinato will square off in the first round at the ATP Belgrade Open. They have met three times before, but not since 2018. Both players flourish on the clay and should enjoy the conditions in Belgrade. With that said, these two are in completely opposite forms coming into this event. Fognini is 5-3 on the clay this season with two of his losses coming against the eventual tournament champion. Cecchinato has yet to win a match at any level this season. He is 0-9. It is hard to see him breaking his unbeaten streak against Fognini.

Prediction: Fognini in 2
Embed from Getty Images

Mikhail Kukushkin vs Aljaz Bedene

Head-to-head: Bedene 1-0 Kukushkin

Wild card Mikhail Kukushkin takes on Slovenian Aljaz Bedene in what will be their second tour-level meeting. Bedene returned back to the tour in March at Indian Wells after missing over seven months due to a covid-related illness. He is 0-2 since his return and is using his protected ranking to enter the field.

The 34-year-old Kukushkin, meanwhile, has focused on tour-level events this season but is often starting his tournament in the qualifying rounds. He is 5-2 over the last month at ATP and Challenger level and gave Taylor Fritz a three-set battle in Miami. Still, Bedene has a better overall game. But has his match fitness has fully returned. Probably. If this one goes three sets, Kukushkin has to be the favourite.

Prediction: Kukushkin in 3
Embed from Getty Images

Richard Gasquet vs Miomir Kecmanovic

Head-to-Head: First meeting

Richard Gasquet matches up with 22-year-old Miomir Kecmanovic for the first time at the ATP Belgrade Open. After a disappointing 2021 season, the Frenchman has played well so far in 2022, making a quarterfinal in Montpelier as well as in Marrakech in his first clay-court tournament of the season. Kecmanovic, however, is currently at a career-high ranking of world #38 and will doubtless be relishing the opportunity to play in his hometown of Belgrade.

He made the quarterfinal in this event a year ago. The NextGen Serbian is currently ranked 18th in the Race to Turin and reached both quarterfinals in Indian Wells and Miami. Kecmanovic’s current form paired with the extra motivation of playing at home should have him ready to be a major factor this week.

Prediction: Kecmanovic in 2
Embed from Getty Images

Cristian Garin vs Holger Rune

Head-to-head: first meeting

Cristian Garin has returned to his favorite surface after a very mediocre hard-court swing. The Chilean is looking to follow up his semifinal run in Houston with a weekend push in Belgrade. His opponent is 18-year-old Holger Rune. Rune has shot up the World Rankings with success at both the Challenger and Tour levels. This time last year the Dane held a ranking of world #322. He currently is a career-high #72.

This has all the makings of a high quality battle from two players who thrive on the clay. Garin has already made his mark as an elite clay-court player, whereas the young Rune is still making his way. Still, even in defeat, it was hard not like the way that  Rune handled himself in his 6-7 5-7 loss last week to Casper Ruud in Monte-Carlo. And that was his ninth match in 10 days. Expect Rune to edge out Garin in a tough three-sets.

Prediction: Rune in 3

Main photo:
Embed from Getty Images