Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: 2020 ATP Tour: Sofia Open

2020 ATP Tour: Sofia Open

We take a look at the Selected Round of 16 Matches from the Sofia Open taking place at Arena Armeec, Sofia, Bulgaria (Indoor Hardcourt).

Photo Copyright - Steve Haag Sports

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

Arena Armeec, Sofia, Bulgaria (Indoor Hardcourt)
ATP 250 Series 
Selected Round of 16 Matches- 11th November 

Felix Auger Aliassime (2) (1/5) vs Salvatore Caruso (32/10)
Second seed Felix Auger Aliasimme must be one of the most frustrating players to back on tour. Just when you think you can confidently back the 22-year-old, things go haywire. And we can’t use age as an excuse any more.  There are too many young players who are able to find consistency. You have to feel for him on one level.  To lose six consecutive ATP Finals must be slightly bewildering. His huge serve and massive forehand should have seen him comfortably to at least two of those titles. He started the year with back-to-back final defeats in Rotterdam and Marseille. But his post-pandemic form was fairly poor leading up to the indoor-hardcourt season. But two excellent weeks in Cologne seemed to indicate that he was ready to once again compete at the highest level. But poor recent outings in Vienna and Paris leave me slightly dumbfounded about his prospects this week.  

The 27-year-old Italian Salvatore Caruso is the very definition of the journeyman pro: he is yet to make a million dollars in career prize money.  Your typical clay-court aficionado, Caruso has a slew of Futures titles to his name. But he has largely battled for relevance on the tour proper. Having said that, 2020 has been something of a breakthrough year for the Italian.  He recently equalled his career best finish at a Grand Slam at the US Open. He reached the final 32 for only the 2nd time following last year’s French Open.  Significantly, it marked a surprisingly rounded performance on the harder surface. It catapulted him to number 80 in the World Rankings (his highest ever position).  He needed to call on all his energy reserves to overcome the fairly unknown Dimitir Kuzmanov in the opening round.  

This will be the first ever meeting between these two, and it’s hard to see it going any other way than a comfy Canadian victory. Having said that, the Canadian hasn’t been in the greatest form of late.  So perhaps there’s some value in a three-set win for the Canadian at 51/20.

Jockeys Ride Horses

Richard Gasquet (2/9) vs Jonas Forejtek (3/1)
This promises to be a mouth-watering clash between a venerated veteran and an up-and-coming force.  Jonas Forejtek has taken his wildcard entry to this event and absolutely run with it.  The Czech came of age at last year’s US Open, winning the Junior title and reaching number one in the junior rankings.  Clearly the 19-year-old is set up for an extremely promising future.  But few would have given him any chance against former World Number Three Marin Cilic in his opening match.  Not only did the Czech win; he won in emphatic fashion.  He won four of five break points and won a whopping 83% of his first service points.  While Forejtek may be a slightly more known quantity after that victory, I think there’s ample evidence to suggest that a fairy-tale run is possible.  

It’s weird to think that many still consider Richard Gasquet something of an underachiever. The 34-year-old Frenchman has three Grand Slam semi-finals to his name. He also has 15 titles- many of which have come on indoor hardcourt surfaces. They tend to suit his game, allowing him to attack with that graceful single-handed backhand. But 2020 has been a real grind for the Frenchman. Quarterfinals in Montpellier and Dubai preceded the lockdown.  But his post-lockdown form has been simply abysmal. A win last week in Paris broke a string of three consecutive first-round losses. Gasquet looked back to something resembling his best as he overcame Roberto Carballes Baena. Gasquet will need to be weary of the livewire Forejtek.  He has a tendency to drift in matches, allowing his opponents to dictate the tempo of matches.  That will not work against a youngster like Forejtek, who will look to aggressively dominate the older Gasquet.  

I’m going to risk sounding like a broken record here and go for Gasquet in three sets. One thing I didn’t mention about the Cilic match was just how poor the former US Open Champion was. I think Gasquet should have too much class on this surface.  But don’t be surprised if the Czech is able to wrangle a set off the Frenchman. Gasquet to win at 51/20.

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