BELGRADE/STARNBERG, April 22, 2021
The underdogs dominated the action on Thursday at the Serbia Open. World No. 84 Federico Delbonis knocked out local favourite and No. 4 seed Dusan Lajovic 6-3, 2-6, 6-4 to reach the quarterfinals in Belgrade.
The 30-year-old Argentine won one point less than his opponent from Serbia but secured victory in two hours and 21 minutes.
“It was a pretty tough match, I think we both played some really good tennis in different parts of the match,” Delbonis said. “The third set was a bit strange, but finally I could take the last game. Otherwise, I think it [could have been] very tough for me after the huge advantage that I had in the third [set].”
“It was a difficult match for me,” said Lajovic. “I played against him multiple times and he’s leading 6-2 in head-to-head records now. He is a difficult opponent whose style doesn’t suit me. I think I did not play badly, I only regret losing, even though it was a good match. I have to keep going.”
Serbian tennis players often mention that they feel pressure when they play at home, and Lajovic also made a brief comment about that.
“I felt good at the court, I wasn’t tensed up. Maybe I made unnecessary mistakes at some points, and I am sad that I didn’t get further,” the 30-year-old stated, confirming that he would participate in the next ATP 250 tournament to be held in Belgrade in late May.
— Serbia Open Official (@SerbiaOpen2021) April 22, 2021
Delbonis will next face a Japanese lucky loser Taro Daniel, who rallied from a set down to topple seventh seed John Millman of Australia 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 after two hours and 12 minutes.
“It feels great, especially since I came in as a lucky loser,” Daniel said in an on-court interview. “I mean, the day I lost [in qualies] I had two beers and I was lifting weights in the gym here. And then suddenly, ‘Okay, you go on court in 10 minutes.’ I was surprised.
Mager to face Karatsev
In other action, Italian Gianluca Mager continued his good run of form by beating Aussie Alexei Popyrin 7-5, 6-2. The 26-year-old qualifier, champion of the AnyTech365 Andalucia Open ATP Challenger in Marbella, Spain earlier this month, converted four of his 11 break-point opportunities to advance after one hour and 24 minutes.
Mager will next take on Aslan Karatsev. The No. 3 seed from Russia battled past Aljaz Bedene of Slovenia 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(5) under the lights in the final match of the day. Karatsev sent down nine aces and had to save one match point to prevail after two hours and 32 minutes.
“Aljaz is a very experienced player, he moves well. We played in the Bundesliga a couple of years ago and conditions were not easy today, as it was pretty cold,” Karatsev said. “It was a bit of luck in the end. One or two points made the difference.”
Djokovic getting ready
Meanwhile, World No. 1 Novak Djokovic practiced today at the courts of Novak Tennis Centre together with 17-year-old Serbian tennis hope Hamad Medjedovic as a part of his preparations for the quarterfinal.
The top seed will take on fellow Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic on Friday. The match will be held on Center Court following the match of Filip Krajinovic against No. 2 seed Matteo Berrettini.
The Belgrade quarter-finals are locked in 🔒
— ATP Tour (@atptour) April 22, 2021