Day 1 of ATP Sofia features 12 first-round singles matches. We at LWOT have previewed every match, with two separate articles headlined by Roberto Carballes Baena vs. Albert Ramos-Vinolas and Marton Fucsovics vs Terence Atmane. In this article, I look at some intriguing matches, including Roberto Bautista Agut vs. Miomir Kecmanovic. But who will advance?
ATP Sofia Day 1 Predictions
Max Purcell vs. Rinky Hijikata
Head-to-Head: Purcell 2-1 Hijikata
Aussies Max Purcell and Rinky Hijikata are set to square off for the first time in an ATP tour-level match. Both men have had terrific seasons, with Purcell sitting at No. 45 in the world and Hijikata at No. 72. That said, the elder countryman has struggled mightily of late. Purcell is 1-9 dating back to late August. He has played some competitive matches, but has not been able to get over the finish line. On the other hand, Hijikata is coming off back-to-back Challenger semifinal runs. I don’t want to penalize Purcell for playing higher-level matches, but the confidence Hijikata brings to this match should not go unnoticed.
Prediction: Hijikata in 3
Pavel Kotov vs. Alexander Lazarov
Head-to-Head: first meeting
Pavel Kotov squares off against wildcard Alexander Lazarov in the first round at ATP Sofia. Kotov is coming off the best result of his career – a runner-up finish at ATP Stockholm – and currently holds a career-high live ranking of No. 81. Lazarov, on the other hand, is currently ranked outside the top 600. He has not won a tour-level or Challenger-level match this season. Kotov should roll.
Prediction: Kotov in 2
Jurij Rodionov vs. Lucky Loser
Although we do not know who Jurij Rodionov will draw in his first-round match, he should feel confident about his chances. The 24-year-old Austrian reached the quarterfinals in Astana five weeks ago and reached a career-high ranking of world No. 100 in late August. I expect him to close the season with a strong performance in Sofia.
Roberto Bautista Agut vs. Miomir Kecmanovic
Head-to-Head: Bautista Agut 4-0 Kecmanovic
Roberto Bautista Agut returned to the court less than a month ago after suffering an injury in late July. The veteran is 2-4 since his return but picked up a nice straight-set win over Jiri Lehecka in Paris. Miomir Kecmanovic has had an inconsistent season that has seen him fall outside the top 50 for the first time since Mar 2022. Both players could use a strong run on Sofia to end their season. I give the slight edge to Kecmanovic in this encounter. Bautista Agut is still working his way back to match fitness, and will likely struggle with baseline consistency if the Serb is ripping the ball.
Prediction: Kecmanovic in 3
Main Photo Credit: Susan Mullane – USA TODAY Sports