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ATP Banja Luka Day 1 Predictions Including Alexei Popyrin vs Tallon Griekspoor

Alexei Popyrin National Bank Open

All credit to Novak Djokovic at this year’s ATP Srpska Open in Banja Luka, Bosnia & Herzegovina. Without his funding, this tournament wouldn’t have been possible. Djokovic headlines at the 250-event whilst some exciting Top 100 players make up our predictions on Day 1, including Stan Wawrinka, Dusan Lajovic, Alex Molcan, Alexei Popyrin, and Tallon Griekspoor.

ATP Banja Luka Day 1 Predictions

Luca Van Assche vs Stan Wawrinka

Head-to-head: First meeting

Luca Van Assche is coming off the back of two Challenger titles, defeating Juan Pablo Varillas, Ugo Humbert, Arthur Rinderknech and Alexandre Muller (who made the Marrakech final) in that time. Exceptional stuff as the 19-year-old has proved he has the power to eventually hang with the rest of the ATP.

Despite his age however, Stan Wawrinka’s dips have only come later in tournaments as he runs out of steam. In first rounds, he’s generally been his usual imposing self. Van Assche can hit hard but there’s no doubt Stan the man can hit harder.
Prediction: Wawrinka in 2

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Dusan Lajovic vs Filip Krajinovic

Head-to-head: 2-2

Neither compatriot has been that good recently. Dusan Lajovic has had a rough time of it but Filip Krajinovic has had it rougher, winning just one of his last nine main draw matches.

Krajinovic has a tendency to go off the boil when he isn’t playing with confidence (his 0-5 finals record can attest to that) and Lajovic is the slightly more comfortable on this surface so we’ll back the older of the two Serbs.
Prediction: Lajovic in 3.

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Hamad Medjedovic vs Gregoire Barrere

Head-to-head: First meeting

Hadam Medjedovic likely earned himself a wild card after winning his second Challenger title in Szekesfehervar last month. The field wasn’t particularly stacked however and he’s generally got a middling record against players ranked from 100-200.

Whilst Medjedovic hasn’t proven himself worthy of the ATP Tour, Gregoire Barrere is certainly getting closer having put together some huge wins against Cam Norrie, David Goffin, Alexander Bublik and John Isner this year. He should reliably have the firepower to see this through, even if it goes the distance.
Prediction: Barrere in 3.

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Alex Molcan vs Taro Daniel

Head-to-head: Daniel 1-0 Molcan (all levels)

Taro Daniel is arguably playing the best tennis of his life. His serve has came and went throughout his career but he seems to be delivering it with aplomb recently.

How much of a difference will that make against the underrated Alex Molcan on this surface? He is 22-10 on clay on the ATP Tour–let that sink in. He plays an extremely reliable game on clay and should be able to ask something special of Daniel if he wants to get the win here. We’re not sure the American has the answers.
Prediction: Molcan in 3.

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Tallon Griekspoor vs Alexei Popyrin

Head-to-head: Griekspoor 1-0 Popyrin

Maybe we’re getting ahead of ourselves but Alexei Popyrin seems primed to make a deep run at a tournament in the near future. His serve is universally effective on all surfaces whilst his forehand is a real weapon here.

This won’t be easy, though, as Tallon Griekspoor is a consummate professional. There might be a little hesitation in the Dutchman’s game however given all of his recent improvements have been made to excel on hard-courts, the surface of the game’s top tier. This is the sort of match Popyrin could do with squeaking through by the skin of his teeth if he hopes to make a breakthrough this year.
Prediction: Popyrin in 3.

Main Photo Credit: David Kirouac-USA TODAY Sports


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