The seventh edition of the ATP Sofia Open will welcome some of the best tennis players in the world including reigning champion Jannik Sinner. There will be three main draw matches on Day 1 of the event which will feature an intriguing first-round match between Mikael Ymer and Ilya Ivashka. Who do you think will advance?
ATP Sofia Open Day 1 Predictions
Ugo Humbert vs Filip Cristian Jianu
Head-to-head: first meeting
This is a qualifying match as the top-seeded qualifier Ugo Humbert takes on Cristian Jianu. France’s Humbert has been ranked as high as #25. However, it has been a train wreck of a season in 2022 and is currently outside the Top 100. The indoor hard courts do offer some light and an attempt to salvage his season. He performed exceptionally well at the Rennes Challenger last week where he clinched the title without dropping a set. And I fully expect him to back up that result and return to main draw action in Sofia.
Prediction: Humbert in 2
Ricardas Berankis vs Kamil Majchrzak
Head-to-head: Berankis 2-1 Majchrzak
Majchrzak pulled up his hamstring last month and went on a four-match losing streak. But a pair of dominant wins in the Davis Cup last week has restored his confidence and match sharpness. Berankis is no slouch on this surface and represents the kind of opposition Majchrazk has struggled to put away for much of this season. This is another one of those matches that could slip away from the Pole.
Prediction: Berankis in 3
Jiri Lehecka vs Alexandar Lazarov
Head-to-head: first meeting
Lehecka is making serious progress as evidenced on the ATP Race to Milan where he sits 7th in the live rankings. Outside his beloved clay, Lehecka has served up some strong results on the indoor hard courts like reaching his first ATP semifinal in Rotterdam as a qualifier earlier this year.
His opponent, Alexandar Lazarov, locked his place in the main draw by virtue of a wild card entrant. Lazarov’s performance at the Mallorca Challenger where he made a run to the last four (beating the likes of Aleksandar Vukic and Mikhail Kukushkin) should lift his spirits to heighten his belief of finally picking up his first main draw win in three tries at the Sofia Open. But while he possesses a ferocious and topspin forehand, he does overcook things under minimal pressure. Expect the Czech Next Gen star to turn up the heat on Monday.
Prediction: Lehecka in 2
Mikael Ymer vs Ilya Ivashka
Head-to-head: Ymer 1-1 Ivashka
Ivashka had a difficult start to the season, missing the entire Australian swing due to injury. It took a while for him to get his campaign back on track and he is on a hot streak at the moment. He played some fine tennis on the American hard courts making the semifinal in Atlanta (lost to eventual winner De Minaur) and the fourth round of the US Open (losing narrowly to Sinner in five sets). The Belarusian has the bigger game in this matchup that could be rewarded on this surface, but Ymer is the sort of player who could throw cold water on him and beat him at his own power game.
Prediction: Ymer in 3
Main Photo from Getty.