Date: 9 April 2021
Tournament: Sardegna Open 2021
Venue: Cagliari, Italy
Category: ATP 250
Surface: Red clay
Prize money: €408,800
Match timing: 11 am local time, 2.30 pm IST
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel | UK - Eurosport
Taylor Fritz vs Aljaz Bedene preview
Taylor Fritz has had an up-and-down season in 2021 so far, to say the least. But the World No. 30 will be looking to make amends at Cagliari, as he takes on Slovenia's Aljaz Bedene for a place in the semifinals on Friday.
Fritz reached the third round of the Australian Open at the start of the year, losing to eventual champion Novak Djokovic in five sets. The American followed up that with a decent result at Doha, where he beat the likes of Denis Shapovalov and David Goffin before losing to eventual champion Nikoloz Basilashvili in the semifinals.
But Fritz has failed to maintain any kind of consistency since then, dropping three of his last seven matches on the tour. The 23-year-old even struggled with his physical conditioning at the recently concluded Miami Masters, where he took a medical time-out during his Round-of-16 defeat to Alexander Bublik.
Having said that, Fritz looked completely fit in his second-round match at Cagliari, cruising to a straight-sets victory over Andrej Martin.
Aljaz Bedene, meanwhile, has compiled an 8-5 win-loss record on the tour so far in 2021. A solid and consistent player on clay, Bedene was made to work hard in his Sardegna Open opener as he came from a set down to beat local hope Giulio Zeppieri.
The former World No. 43 was sharper in his next match, against World No. 80 Egor Gerasimov. Bedene came through in two tough sets, reaching the last eight at Cagliari with some momentum behind him.
Taylor Fritz vs Aljaz Bedene head-to-head
Aljaz Bedene leads Taylor Fritz by a margin of 1-0 in the head-to-head. Their only previous encounter came in the second round of the 2020 Cincinnati Masters, where Bedene beat Fritz in straight sets.
Taylor Fritz vs Aljaz Bedene prediction
Taylor Fritz has solid groundstrokes off both wings, and is capable of generating some impressive crosscourt angles on his forehand. The American does have a habit of coughing up errors when he gets drawn into long rallies, but he often makes up for that with his big and accurate first serve.
Aljaz Bedene is a talented player in his own right, and is well-known for the easy depth he gets on his groundstrokes. The World No. 58 has a bankable first serve too, but at times he struggles to hit through his opponents.
Given that both players have a good serve, their performance on the return will likely hold the key in their last-eight encounter at Cagliari. Fritz has the advantage in that respect; he strikes his returns with more power than Bedene, which would give him a slight edge in this match-up.
Prediction: Taylor Fritz to win in three sets.