Alexander Bublik vs Salvatore Caruso - 2021 Antalya Open First Round
Thursday January 7th, 2021
TV: ESPN (US), Amazon Prime (UK) Stream live sports and exclusive originals on ESPN+. Sign up now!
The 2021 ATP season is underway with the first tournament of the week (In addition to the Delray Beach Open) taking place in Antalya, Turkey. Number 8 seed Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan faces Italian Salvatore Caruso in what is sure to be an exciting encounter. The match will take place on January 7th 2021 at approximately 5:40am EST. This will be the first meeting between the two players.
Alexander Bublik is a very talented player that has had a very controversial career. He has had some outstanding results (two ATP finals) but openly admits that he hates tennis and has had some disciplinary issues in the past. He is the type of player that is is almost impossible to predict as you never know what to expect on any given day. He is capable of competing with the very best, but equally capable of a meltdown and losing to someone much lower down in the rankings than he is. He had a relatively poor 2020, with the highlight being a Third Round showing at the Hamburg Open. He enters the Antalya Open ranked #49 and will be hoping for a good start to the year.
Salvatore Caruso by contrast is known as an extremely hardworking player who is coming off a career best year in 2020. He won three challenger titles and surprisingly reached the Third Round at the US Open and will be determined to cause the upset here. He is very strong on both sides at the baseline, often giving nothing away. That being said, he lacks a major weapon which can sometimes hold him back. Additionally, he is primarily known as a clay court specialist, with the majority of his success coming on that surface.
This is a tough match to call as you never know what to expect with Bublik. He is the higher ranked player and should win on paper, but the Italian is exactly the type of player to frustrate him and cause him to self-implode. With that being said, I am going with Bublik to win a close encounter as he should be mentally refreshed after a long break and will not want to start the season on a bad note.