Fixture: (1) Matteo Berrettini vs Dimitar Kuzmanov
Date: 10 January 2021
Tournament: Antalya Open 2021
Round: Second round (Round of 16)
Venue: Antalya, Turkey
Category: ATP 250
Surface: Outdoor Hardcourt
Prize money: €300,000
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel
Matteo Berrettini vs Dimitar Kuzmanov preview
Top seed Mateo Berrettini takes on Bulgaria's Dimitar Kuzmanov in the second round of the Antalya Open 2021 on Sunday.
Expectations are high from Berrettini this week, as the Italian looks to put behind a disappointing 2020 season that saw him fail to qualify for the ATP Finals despite the frozen ranking system. The 24-year-old didn't reach a single semifinal at any event last year, and last picked up a title at Stuttgart - back in June 2019.
Berettini got off to a solid start in Antalya, getting past Ergi Kirkin in a routine 6-0 6-4 win that lasted less than an hour. The Italian now comes up against World No. 298 Dimitar Kuzmanov in the second round.
Although Kuzmanov has been in and out of ATP level tournaments, he is a mainstay on the ITF and Challenger tours. The 27-year-old came into the Antalya main draw on the back of solid wins in the qualifiers, before defeating Lazlo Djere in the first round.
Matteo Berrettini vs Dimitar Kuzmanov head-to-head
The second-round encounter on Saturday is the first between Matteo Berrettini and Dimitar Kuzmanov at tour level, so their head-to-head currently stands at 0-0.
Matteo Berrettini vs Dimitar Kuzmanov prediction
Despite his poor form coming into the tournament, Matteo Berrettini was the bookmakers' favorite to lift the title in Antalya. Needless to say, he is also the overwhelming favorite for his match against Dimitar Kuzmanov.
The Italian's power and experience make him a force to reckon with, especially given the weakened field in Antalya following many last-minute withdrawals. Berrettini's can unleash some powerful groundstrokes from the back of the court, and his serve remains a big weapon; he won 24 of his first 26 service points in the first round.
Kuzmanov is a relatively unknown entity for most of the tennis world, and will look to rely on that unpredictability going into the match. To cause an upset, the Bulgarian will have to take control of the rallies early in order to stop Berrettini from asserting his dominance.
Given the Italian's serving form in the previous match, that is much easier said than done.
Prediction: Matteo Berrettini to win in straight sets.Published 08 Jan 2021, 22:51 IST