Fixture: (8) Lorenzo Musetti vs Aljaz Bedene
Date: 26 July, 2022
Tournament: Croatia Open, Umag
Round: First round
Venue: ITC Stella Maris, Umag, Croatia
Category: ATP 250
Prize money: €534,555
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel | UK - Amazon Prime Video
Lorenzo Musetti vs Aljaz Bedene preview
Eighth seed Lorenzo Musetti will take on Aljaz Bedene in the first round of the Croatia Open. He's had a fairly productive season to date, picking up 26 wins from 43 matches and winning titles at the Forli 6 Challenger and most recently the Hamburg European Open.
While the Italian has been consistent throughout the season, he has struggled to find inspiration on grass. He failed to register a single win on the fast and skiddy surface, making first-round exits at the Boss Open, Queen's Club Championship and Wimbledon.
The 20-year-old returned to the claycourts in Germany and turned things around brilliantly at the Hamburg European Open. He defeated the likes of Emil Ruusuvuori, Alejandro Davidovich Fokina and Francisco Cerundolo en route to the finals and outclassed Carlos Alcaraz, one of the most in-form players this season, in a three-set thriller to win his first ever ATP 500 title.
Aljaz Bedene, on the other hand, decided to take a nine-month break from the tour last year after struggling with COVID-19 related issues and health problems. He returned to the tour at the 2022 Indian Wells Masters in March.
The Slovenian has only registered three wins from 11 matches so far, with two of those coming at the French Open. He picked up hard-fought wins against Christopher Oconnell and Pablo Cuevas at Roland Garros before being humbled by 21-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic in the third round.
Like Musetti, the 33-year-old also had a sloppy season on grass, making early exits at the Rosmalen Grasscourt Championship and Wimbledon. His misery continued at the Hamburg Open, bowing out to Fabio Fognini 3-6, 6-3, 6-7(5) in an absorbing three-set bout in the first round.
Lorenzo Musetti vs Aljaz Bedene head-to-head
Musetti leads the head-to-head 1-0 against Bedene, after defeating him 6-3, 7-6(2) at the 2021 Lyon Open.
Lorenzo Musetti vs Aljaz Bedene odds
All odds are sourced by BetMGM.
Lorenzo Musetti vs Aljaz Bedene prediction
While Musetti is the favorite on paper, fans can expect a tricky contest which could swing either way. The Italian scripted a memorable performance in Hamburg, winning his first title on debut at the ATP 500 level.
He looked in envious form last week, timing the ball extremely well off both wings. The youngster has the ability to create extreme angles on his groundstrokes and work his opponents all over the court. Not many would have expected his one-handed backhand to work as efficiently as it did against the mighty forehand Alcaraz possesses, but it helped Musetti immensely to come out on top.
Bedene might need to take calculative risks and stay as aggressive as possible to have a say against the Italian. He's an experienced campaigner and will know what to expect in the first-round clash at Umag. The former World No. 43, a two-time quarterfinalist at the Croatia Open, will be determined to make an impact after a difficult run of form in the last few weeks.
Fresh off his title-winning campaign, it will be interesting to see how Musetti fares in Umang. He'll be up against a sticky competitor who's capable of presenting a tough challenge. The 20-year-old, who will need to keep his focus and get off to a good start, should be able to get past Bedene and progress to the next round.
Pick: Musetti to win in three sets.