Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: ATP Tour: Sardegna Open Preview

ATP Tour: Sardegna Open Preview

Broom sweeps clay

Damien Kayat takes a look at two of the four quarterfinals coming your way from the ATP Tour's Sardegna Open.

Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

Nikoloz Basilashvili 13/10 | Jan-Lennard Struff 6/10
Basilashvili needed to find some real resolve in his opening match against Jozef Kovalik. It was an essential victory if you look at the Georgian’s broader form. The four-time ATP Champion has had an incredibly bizarre year or so. At one point last year, he endured a humiliating run of nine consecutive first-round losses. Generally speaking, 2021 hasn’t been much different: he has already picked up six first-round exits. In fact, coming into this event he had lost consecutive first-round matches in Dubai and Miami. But in amongst all that chaos was his nearly superhuman performance in Qatar. Basilashvili beat both Roger Federer and Roberto Bautista Agut en route to probably the biggest title of his career. What can we expect this week? He doesn’t seem to be playing with the fluidity of Qatar. One thing in his favour: two of his titles have come on clay. The last of those titles came in the 2019 European Open. 

Jan-Lennard Struff eased through his 2nd round match, beating Liam Broady in comfortable straight sets. The 30-year-old German is yet to reach an ATP Final in his career. But he has built a career out of chipping away against inferior opponents. He utilizes his imposing serve and big forehand to crush struggling tour professionals. He is also uber-fit and able to grind down opponents. His Challenger career also bears testament to his proficiency on clay. He has played in ten clay-court finals on the Challenger Tour. He also started the year in excellent form, beating Raonic and Lajovic at the ATP Cup. Struff will be hoping that Basilashvili will keep to the Hyde aspect of his Jekyll and Hyde persona. 

Verdict: Jan-Lennard Struff: 6/10
Jan-Lennard Struff actually holds the head-to-head advantage at 2-1. He won both of their matches last year though they have never met on clay-courts. Basilashvili is probably the superior player on their respective best days. But I don’t think there’s many players on the tour who have as many bad days as the Georgian. I fancy the German to pull through this encounter. 

Aljaz Bedene 11/10 | Taylor Fritz 71/100
World Number 30 Taylor Fritz has been having quite an up-and-down season. He really rose to prominence when he reached the final of last year’s ATP 500 event in Acapulco. 2021 started quite well. While he only reached the 3rd round of the Aussie Open, he was eliminated by eventual champion Novak Djokovic in an epic five-set match. He then enjoyed a brilliant week in Qatar, reaching the semi-finals in yet another strong showing. Since then, his racquet has gone slightly cold, though he did thrash Andrej Martin in his opening match here. Alongside Frances Tiafoe, Taylor Fritz has long been considered the future of American men’s tennis. 

Aljaz Bedene has complied a really solid 2021 thus far without being noticed. His year-to-date win-loss stats stand at 8-5. Always a solid and consistent player on clay, Bedene was forced to labour in his opening match against local favourite Giulio Zeppieri. He then had to grind it our against World Number 80 Egor Gerasimov. Bedene has reached four ATP finals, including two on clay. He also reached the 3rd round of Roland Garros last year, highlighting his ability on clay. Bedene is a mainstay player in these ATP 250 events and won’t feel daunted by Fritz. 

Verdict: Aljaz Beden 11/10
The Slovenian actually leads the head-to-head 1-0. I was actually surprised to see that Bedene won in last year’s Cincinnati Masters against Fritz. In straight sets! One would think that Fritz should have wiped the floor with Bedene on that surface. That leads me to believe that Beden could be worth a gander here on his preferred surface of clay. 

Written by Damien Kayat. 

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