The quarterfinals at the ATP Belgrade Open will conclude with two matches on Friday. Germany’s Oscar Otte is plotting another upset after beating fourth seed Aslan Karatsev. Meanwhile, Andrey Rublev will look to win his 21st match of the season when he takes on surprise quarterfinalist, Taro Daniel. But who will join Novak Djokovic and Karen Khachanov in the semifinals?
ATP Belgrade Quarterfinal Predictions
Fabio Fognini vs Oscar Otte
Head-to-head: first meeting
Fabio Fognini had only managed to win back-to-back matches once in 2022 before this week. The Italian struck a lean patch over the last 18 months. Consequently, his ranking has taken a significant hit for his inability to win on a consistent basis. Fognini sits at #62 in the rankings – his lowest position in over a decade. While the standings are not a pretty sight for the former-world #9, he looks to have recaptured some of the fluency and timing that made him an ingenious clay courter at this week’s ATP Belgrade Open.
In contrast, Otte is currently at a career-high world #67. Last season, he played with distinction on the ATP Challenger Tour, winning three titles at that level. Having broken the top 100 at the turn of the year, Otte is targeting a seamless transition to tour-level tennis. In fairness, it has been a bumpy ride in the past three months, but he has not put a foot wrong so far this week.
Otte scored two fine wins over Alejandro Tabilo and Karatsev to reach his first quarterfinal of 2022. So, clearly, the German relishes being the underdog. The serve continues to be the cornerstone of everything good he has done this week. He has tallied 14 aces and averaged close to 80% first-serve points won. But against Fognini, he is facing one of the game’s best tacticians on a clay court. As long as the Italian hasn’t checked off, he should be able to put the brakes on the German’s commendable run.
Prediction: Fognini in 3
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Andrey Rublev vs Taro Daniel
Head-to-head: Daniel 2-1 Rublev
Rublev was a tiebreak away from bombing out of the tournament on Thursday. But he staged a very impressive comeback to avoid the upset against the talented Jiri Lehecka. Rublev was delighted with the turnaround in very testing conditions and against an opponent who had already secured three matches under his belt right from qualifying. Daniel is another player looking to run the gauntlet, having scaled the qualifying rounds without dropping a set.
In the main draw, he stunned local favorite Dusan Lajovic and backed up that win by knocking off Denmark’s Holger Rune. It is imperative to note that the Japanese player owns two victories over Rublev on the clay, but not at tour level. Daniel’s work ethic is a testament to his longevity. He is only 29 but this is his 12th season since he turned professional. While we cannot rule out an upset in this one, Rublev is a vastly superior player from the last time they met on this surface.
Prediction: Rublev in 2
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