The final ATP 250 event of the season is set to get underway at the ATP Sofia Open. There is a very busy opening day scheduled, with 11 matches to be played. Four of those are predicted in this article, with former French Open quarterfinalist Albert Ramos-Vinolas one of those in action. We at LWOT also have two separate articles predicting the other seven contests in Sofia.
ATP Sofia Day 1 Predictions
Fabian Marozsan vs Zsombor Piros
Head-to-head: Piros 3-0 Marozsan (all levels)
A few months ago, this would have been a battle of the clay courters, but Marozsan has completely changed that perception. He beat French tennis veteran Richard Gasquet in a five-set thriller at the US Open and then reached the quarterfinal of the Shanghai Masters last month. Piros can take some encouragement from claiming three consecutive wins against his Hungarian compatriot at Futures and Challenger level. However, Marozsan is now the higher-ranked and better player, especially on hard courts. Expect him to progress at the ATP Sofia Open.
Prediction: Marozsan in 2
Sebastian Ofner vs Vitaliy Sachko
Head-to-head: Ofner 1-0 Sachko (all levels)
2023 has been Ofner’s best year to date on hard courts. That progress means he is guaranteed to finish the season inside the Top 50. This matchup is a very good opportunity to notch another victory. Sachko is a talented player, but he is yet to win an ATP Tour main draw match. There often are upsets towards the end of the season as fatigue kicks in for the top players. Nonetheless, a shock is still very unlikely unless Ofner underperforms dramatically at the ATP Sofia Open.
Prediction: Ofner in 2
Marc-Andrea Huesler vs Billy Harris
Head-to-head: First meeting
It has been a rough year for Huesler as he finds himself at No. 200 in the world coming into this tournament. His opponent Billy Harris is the world No. 221, but that is a career-high ranking for the Briton. The momentum of both players heading into this would indicate that Harris has a great chance at the ATP Sofia Open. Yet, I am still backing Huesler to get through this one. His powerful game is likely to come as a shock to Harris if he can find it consistently enough, although admittedly, that is not guaranteed due to Huesler’s form this season.
Prediction: Huesler in 3
Roberto Carballes Baena vs Albert Ramos-Vinolas
Head-to-head: Carballes Baena 3-4 Ramos-Vinolas
These two Spaniards have met on seven occasions, but only one of those was on a hard court. Carballes Baena triumphed on that sole occasion at Winston-Salem in 2018. The younger Spaniard has enjoyed a more consistent season, with Carballes Baena’s highlight being a run to the title in Marrakech in April. By contrast, it has been a mostly challenging season for Ramos-Vinolas, but he did reach the final in Gstaad in July. It is a hard one to call between two players who prefer clay, but the slightly more athletic Carballes Baena probably has a slight edge at the ATP Sofia Open.
Prediction: Carballes Baena in 3
Main Photo Credit: Jerry Lai – USA TODAY Sports