Fixture: Novak Djokovic vs Filip Krajinovic
Date: 18 September 2020
Tournament: Italian Open 2020
Round: Third round (Round of 16)
Venue: Rome, Italy
Category: ATP Masters 1000
Surface: Red clay
Prize money: €3,465,045
Match timing: 2.30 pm CEST, 6 pm IST
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel/ESPN | India - Sony Six
Novak Djokovic vs Filip Krajinovic preview
After taming Salvatore Caruso in the second round, World No. 1 Novak Djokovic will try to continue his winning momentum when he takes on compatriot Filip Krajinovic in the Rome Masters pre-quarterfinals on Friday.
The two Serbian players were set to play doubles as a team in the Cincinnati Masters, but Novak Djokovic pulled out because of an injury. Djokovic in fact went on to win the singles trophy at that Masters 1000 event and was seemingly on his way to an 18th Grand Slam title at the US Open, before an unfortunate accident led to him being disqualified.
The Belgrade-based star seems to have recovered from that setback though, as he looked in supreme touch against Caruso.
Novak Djokovic hasn't yet suffered a loss in a completed official match this year, but he did succumb to Filip Krajinovic during the Belgrade leg of the Adria Tour. Krajinovic went on to reach the final of that event, finishing as the runner-up to Dominic Thiem.
The World No. 29 has a fairly impressive win-loss record of 16-7 in 2020. Krajinovic recorded a splendid victory over Thiem at the Cincinnati Masters last month, and he also dumped 16th seed Felix Auger-Aliassime out of the Italian Open earlier this week.
Before the COVID-19 break, the 28-year-old had made it to the semifinals of the ATP events in Montpelier and Rotterdam. Krajinovic has been playing some excellent tennis all year, and he could give Novak Djokovic some trouble on Friday.
Novak Djokovic vs Filip Krajinovic head-to-head
Filip Krajinovic surprisingly leads Novak Djokovic by a margin of 1-0 in the head-to-head. The two Serbian players had met in Belgrade 10 years ago, where Djokovic retired after losing the first set 6-4.
Novak Djokovic vs Filip Krajinovic prediction
Although Filip Krajinovic has a victory over Novak Djokovic this year, it shouldn't be forgotten that that was an exhibition match. Djokovic has been virtually invincible in official games this year, despite all the controversies surrounding him.
To upset Djokovic at the Rome Masters, Krajinovic will have to take the attack to his opponent. He broke Marco Cecchinato's serve four times in his last match; if he continues to return big on Friday, he could put some pressure on the World No. 1.
Djokovic, however, didn't allow Caruso a single break opportunity in the last match. Every part of the 33-year-old's game seems to be in fine working order, so Krajinovic will have an uphill battle even if he brings his best.
Prediction: Novak Djokovic to win in three sets.Published 18 Sep 2020, 00:27 IST