Moraing Sets Djokovic Clash At Belgrade Open

Mats Moraing – photo: Belgrade Open


Big day for Mats Moraing in Serbia. The World No. 253 from Germany celebrated his first match win on the ATP Tour on Monday to reach the second round of the Belgrade Open.

Moraing recovered from a set and 0-4 down in the second to secure a 4-6, 7-6(7), 7-5 victory against Egor Gerasimov from Belarus. In a thrilling encounter on Court 1 at the Novak Tennis Center, Moraing withstood 15 aces and saved three match points in the second set to prevail after three hours of play.

It was nerve-racking and a very intense match,” Moraing told Tennis TourTalk in his virtual press conference. “It’s difficult to play here. The courts are not too fast, which means that you have to play a lot of rallies. You don’t get too many free points with your serve. I was three times a break up in the first set but he fought back and had a strong start into the second set. But I never gave up and tried to stay in the match, which worked out well. The third set felt like a ride on the rollercoaster again. I was a break down, he served for the match but I recovered well and securing my first match on the ATP Tour makes my day.”

Winning against World No. 78 Gerasimov also marked Moraing’s fifth victory over a Top 100 player. “That means a lot to me. That’s what you’re practicing for. I missed the qualifying at Roland Garros this year and was lucky to enter the main draw as a lucky loser. I am happy for every match I can play at this high level. It’s a great success.”

The big-serving left-hander was sidelined from the courts due to injury for eight months and is now on his way back to his best. “It needs some time but I felt that I played a good level of tennis at the ATP Challenger Neckarcup in Heilbronn two weeks ago, which helped me to gain some confidence.”

Moraing, who has come to Serbia for the very first time, will next challenge World No. 1 Novak Djokovic at his home tournament. “The venue here is great,” the 28-year-old German said and seems to feel comfortable in Belgrade. “The hotel is fantastic and the food excellent. You have everything you need. Djordje Djokovic, the tournament director, is very pleasant and helpful. Playing his brother Novak, the best in the world, is a dream coming true. I am really looking forward to this match.”

In other action, Alex Molcan also secured his first match win on the ATP Tour. The 23-year-old Slovakian defeated Serbian 17-year-old wild card entry Hamad Medjedovic 6-4, 6-3 in one hour and 23 minutes.

“I did a good job with my serve. He didn’t have break point. Now I will have a rest and focus on tomorrow. I feel comfortable here. The club is amazing,” said Molcan, who will next take on local favourite Pedja Krstin.

Lajovic advances, Kecmanovic falls

No. 5 seed Dusan Lajovic opened his home campaign with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Ricardas Berankis from Lithuania. The 30-year-old Belgrade native converted all of his four break-point opportunities to advance after one hour and 20 minutes. Up next for Lajovic will be Frenchman Jeremy Chardy.

Pablo Cuevas knocked off No. 7 seed Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia, 6-3, 6-2. The clay-court specialist from Uruguay saved all five break points he faced and capitalized on three of his own six break-point chances to prevail after one hour and 18 minutes. Cuevas will next play Argentine alternate Federico Coria.

Federico Delbonis booked his spot in the second round following a hard-fought 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 win over Slovakian lucky loser Lukas Klein. The No. 8 seed from Argentina will oppose Thiago Monteiro of Brazil, who beat Radu Albot from Moldova 6-2, 6-2 in the final match of the day on Centre Court.