Fixture: Kevin Anderson vs Roberto Carballes Baena*
Date: 28 April 2021
Tournament: Millennium Estoril Open 2021
Round: Second round (Round of 16)
Venue: Estoril, Portugal
Category: ATP 250
Surface: Red clay
Prize money: €419,470
Match timing: 10.30 am local time, 3 pm IST
Live telecast: USA - ESPN / Tennis Channel | UK - Amazon Prime Video
(*Note: Kevin Anderson was initially supposed to play Kei Nishikori, but the latter withdrew from the Estoril Open owing to a right adductor injury. Lucky Loser Roberto Carballes Baena has taken the Japanese's place in the draw.)
Kevin Anderson vs Roberto Carballes Baena preview
Kevin Anderson will square off against Roberto Carballes Baena in the second round of the 2021 Estoril Open on Wednesday.
Roberto Carballes Baena is a late entry into the event. The Spaniard came in as a lucky loser after fourth seed Kei Nishikori withdrew from the tournament.
Anderson, meanwhile, survived a titanic affair against Frances Tiafoe in the first round, winning 4-6, 7-6 (6), 7-6 (4).
After losing the opening set despite serving magnificently, Anderson went down by a break in the second to trail 2-4. But he broke the American twice in succession - once while the latter served for the match - to take the set to a tiebreaker.
Anderson then fired some big serves and crushing returns, saving a match point in the process, to take the match to a decider.
Tiafoe began strongly in the third set again to amass a 4-1 lead. But much like in the second set, Anderson regrouped to take the set to a tiebreaker, where he sealed victory without much fuss.
Even though the South African was broken five times by Tiafoe, he served exceptionally well. Anderson struck a mammoth 20 aces and won almost three-fourths of the points played on his first serve.
Roberto Carballes Baena, meanwhile, comes into this event on the back of some lackluster recent performances. The 28-year-old lost in the first round of both the Andalucia Open and the Serbia Open.
That said, Carballes Baena did manage to win the Belgrade Challenger event that took place between the two ATP tournaments.
Kevin Anderson vs Roberto Carballes Baena head-to-head
Kevin Anderson and Roberto Carballes Baena have never faced each other on tour before, so their head-to-head currently stands at 0-0.
Kevin Anderson vs Roberto Carballes Baena prediction
While Kevin Anderson has slowed down a touch, his serve is still a formidable threat on all surfaces. Roberto Carballes Baena, on the other hand, is known for his athleticism and defense on slow surfaces.
The Spaniard is also known to position himself well behind the baseline while returning. That tactic could reap dividends against Anderson, as it would take some sting off the Protean's biggest weapon.
Carballes Baena will be extra motivated by his lucky break at the Estoril Open, and that might just give him an edge on Wednesday.
Prediction: Roberto Carballes Baena to win in three sets.