Day 4 of the ATP Croatia Open in Umag sees the return of last year’s champion, Carlos Alcaraz, who continues the dominance of his remarkable 2022 season. However, he was denied the title in Hamburg by the rising Lorenzo Musetti, who sits in the opposite draw. Can Musetti reach the finals and not only unseat the reigning king but deprive him of two titles in a row? Let’s hope we see these two in the final, but for now, Round 2 picks ensue, including Sebastian Baez vs Franco Agamenone.
ATP Umag Day 4 Predictions
Sebastian Baez vs Franco Agamenone
Head-to-head: Baez 1-1 Agamenone
Agamenone is a Challenger player, or more precisely a Futures player, with over 300 matches and nine titles at the latter level. He has won a Challenger title on clay this year, and has been steadily improving while hitting a very late career high at age 29. Baez is one of the better clay players on tour, although he lost to Agamenone on clay less than a year ago. However, despite the improvement of both players since then, Baez is the much better player, and should handle this with relative ease.
Prediction: Baez in 2
Corentin Moutet vs Facundo Bagnis
Head-to-head: Bagnis 1-0
Other than a strange run to the semis in Adelaide at the start of the season, Moutet has been a Challenger player this year, where he’s picked up one title. Bagnis is the same, though without any unusual runs, as he had struggled a lot in ATP matches this year. They have identical win percentages on clay, and neither has anything particularly to prove or to lose. It’s an impossible match to call, but I think Moutet will want it more.
Prediction: Moutet in 3
Lorenzo Musetti vs Marco Cecchinato
Head-to-head: Musetti 1-0
Marco Cecchinato, champion here in 2018, catches his countryman at the wrong time. Musetti is flying high after his first career title, one that saw him overcome the vaunted Carlos Alcaraz in the final in Hamburg. The two Italians are almost identical in size and style, but are rather mirror opposites than mirror images. Cecchinato has sharply declined in the last few years, from his career high of #16 in the world, while Musetti has trended the opposite. The younger Italian didn’t exactly impress by needing three sets to overcome Aljaz Bedene in Round 1, but he should be warmed up now and back to his old self.
Prediction: Musetti in 2
Carlos Alcaraz vs Norbert Gombos
Head-to-head: first meeting
Not much needs to be said here. Carlos Alcaraz beats everyone. Juan Carlos Ferrero has him dialed in, and I don’t think he’ll suffer much from the loss to Musetti in the Hamburg final, except to be a little hungrier. Gombos is 2-6 in ATP competition this year and sits outside the Top 100. Alcaraz and his team are putting together a run of consistency, and he has yet to lapse against lower-level competition, while sitting on a whopping 39-6 record with four titles in 2022. He should move on in defense of his Umag ’21 title.
Prediction: Alcaraz in 2
Main Photo from Getty.