Fixture: (1) Novak Djokovic vs (8) Miomir Kecmanovic
Date: 23 April 2021
Tournament: Serbia Open 2021
Venue: Barcelona, Spain
Category: ATP 250
Surface: Red Clay
Prize money: US$235,238
Match timing: Approx. 3 pm local time, 6.30 pm IST
Live telecast: USA - ESPN / Tennis Channel | UK - Amazon Prime Video
Novak Djokovic vs Miomir Kecmanovic preview
Novak Djokovic is looking to get some claycourt match practice under his belt in Belgrade before he tries defending the titles in Madrid and Rome.
Djokovic was outstanding in Melbourne, where he went undefeated in the ATP Cup and won his ninth Australian Open title. But the World No. 1 took an extended injury break after that, and returned straight on clay.
Djokovic's clay season did not get off to an ideal start, as he bowed out in the third round of the Monte Carlo Masters against Dan Evans. However, he showed no signs of rustiness in his opening match at Belgrade, defeating Kwon Soon-woo in straight sets.
The 33-year-old now comes up against compatriot Miomir Kecmanovic in the quarterfinals.
Kecmanovic has not played on the ATP tour for long, but has been racking up some decent results recently. The 21-year-old got plenty of match practice on the claycourts of South America earlier this year, even reaching the semifinals in Buenos Aires.
Kecmanovic was knocked out of the first round in Monte Carlo by Fabio Fognini, but has had a solid week so far in Belgrade. He defeated Facundo Bagnis in the first round in two tiebreaks, and then outlasted Arthur Rinderknech in three sets to reach the quarterfinal.
Novak Djokovic vs Miomir Kecmanovic head-to-head
The quarterfinal encounter in Belgrade is the first match between Novak Djokovic and Miomir Kecmanovic, so their head-to-head currently stands at 0-0.
Novak Djokovic vs Miomir Kecmanovic prediction
Novak Djokovic comes into this match as the overwhelming favorite. Playing in his hometown, the Serb seems to have got over any jitters he may have felt after his shock loss to Dan Evans, and is looking in good nick now.
Djokovic's movement and consistency from the baseline are still the best on tour, even if clay is not his most preferred surface.
But Miomir Kecmanovic will be aware that the World No. 1 is capable of lapses in concentration, as he showed against Evans. The 21-year-old will look to use his all-round consistency and heavy backhand down the line to prevent Djokovic from taking control of proceedings.
However, if Djokovic finds his footing early and keeps his error count low - as he usually does - it is hard to see Kecmanovic get anything out of the contest.
Prediction: Novak Djokovic to win in straight sets.