Fixture: Novak Djokovic vs Dominik Koepfer
Date: 19 September 2020
Tournament: Italian Open 2020
Venue: Rome, Italy
Category: ATP Masters 1000
Surface: Red clay
Prize money: €3,465,045
Match timing: Not before 2:30 pm CEST (6 pm IST)
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel / ESPN | India - Sony Six
Novak Djokovic vs Dominik Koepfer preview
17-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic battled past compatriot Filip Krajinovic on Friday to progress to the quarterfinals of the 2020 Rome Masters. He will now lock horns with the rapidly improving German Dominik Koepfer, who took out teenage phenom Lorenzo Musetti in straight sets 6-4, 6-0.
Koepfer played some fine tennis on Friday to douse the challenge of Musetti, who seemed to be nursing a shoulder issue. Koepfer served at a good level for most of the match and followed them up with his typically heavy lefty groundstrokes, to make matters very difficult for the young Italian.
The Serb meanwhile was a far cry from his usual sublime self as he needed a tight tiebreaker and over two hours of tennis to overcome Krajinovic 7-6 (7), 6-3.
There was something off about the Serb's rhythm, and Krajinovic made matters worse with his deep groundstrokes. The World No. 1 was also found struggling on his serve, as he racked up four double faults in the opening set.
Krajinovic raced to a 4-1 lead in the first set tiebreak, which included two mini-breaks, but he squandered the advantage by making a series of errors. Djokovic then played much better tennis in the second set, where he didn’t give many chances to his younger compatriot.
Dominik Koepfer meanwhile would be ecstatic at having made his first-ever quarterfinal appearance on the ATP tour. The German, who had never before been past the qualifying rounds at any Masters 1000 event, suddenly finds himself facing the best player in the world on the big stage.
Novak Djokovic vs Dominik Koepfer head-to-head
The head-to-head between Novak Djokovic and Dominik Koepfer currently stands at 0-0, as the two have never played against each other on the ATP tour.
Novak Djokovic vs Dominik Koepfer prediction
Novak Djokovic is known to begin tournaments in cruise mode, before accelerating massively as he reaches the business end. We can expect the same now that he finds himself closing in on the final.
The Serb, however, has been struggling a little with his game this week, even mistiming his groundstrokes on occasion. Dominik Koepfer will likely test the Serb in that aspect with his inclination to hit the ball hard and heavy on the slow surface.
Koepfer is strong off both his forehand and backhand wing, and will look to bludgeon the ball crosscourt to stretch Djokovic wide. That said, he will have to be cautious about his court positioning or else the Serb’s counterpunching depth could leave him flat-footed.
All things considered, Djokovic will likely have too much consistency and stability for Koepfer to win more than a handful of games.
Prediction: Novak Djokovic to win in straight sets.Published 19 Sep 2020, 00:34 IST