Kecmanovic Begins Home Campaign At Serbia Open

Miomir Kecmanovic (photo: Serbia Open)


Miomir Kecmanovic opened his home campaign at the Serbia Open with a 7-6(5), 7-6(4) first-round victory over Argentine qualifier Facundo Bagnis on Tuesday. The No. 8 seed of the ATP 250 clay-court tournament held at the Novak Tennis Centre in Belgrade outpointed his opponent 90-78 after two hours and six minutes.

Kecmanovic, who reached a career-high ranking of World No. 38 on 8 March after reaching semi-finals in Buenos Aires, will next take on French qualifier Arthur Rinderknech. The 25-year-old defeated Juan Ignacio Londero from Argentina 6-1, 7-5 in one hour and 16 minutes.

Gianluca Mager, who recently lifted the trophy of the AnyTech365 Andalucia Open ATP Challenger in Marbella, Spain, knocked out No. 9 seed Laslo Djere of Serbia 6-4, 6-3. The Italian qualifier struck four aces and won 73 per cent of his first-service points to prevail after one hour and 32 minutes.

“I feel very bad, I am disappointed with my performance here,” said Djere. “Something happened to me before the match, I felt unnecessary pressure and fear. I opened the match well, but honestly, I think that was more because of his poor play, as he made a lot of errors. When he stopped making errors, I wasn’t able to win even four points. Maybe I had a fear of defeat even though that usually doesn’t happen to me. It is possible that I simply wasn’t focused on my game due to my strong wish to achieve a good result on the home court and the subconscious pressure that came with it. I’m not used to playing in Belgrade. I need to learn to deal with situations like this.”

Đere already has plans after Belgrade.

“I will go to Madrid to play in the qualifications and to prepare as best I can until then. I have almost two weeks and I will try to forget today’s match as soon as possible and move on.”

Mager will next face Alexei Popyrin, who battled past Argentine qualifier Francisco Cerundolo 6-4, 6-7(5), 7-6(6) under the lights on Court 1.

Djokovic to start against Kwon

Local hero and World No. 1 Novak Djokovic will begin his title bid against Soonwoo Kwon on Wednesday afternoon. The 23-year-old South Korean edged past Spanish lucky loser and champion of last Sunday’s Serbia Challenger Open Roberto Carballes Baena 6-3, 7-5. Djokovic and the World No. 85 will meet for the first time.

In the bottom half of the draw, Taro Daniel of Japan emerged victorious from the battle of the lucky losers with Portuguese Joao Sousa 7-5, 6-3 to set a second-round clash with Australian John Millman.