Laslo Djere vs Dimitar Kuzmanov - 2021 Antalya Open First Round
Friday January 8th, 2021 / 5:40am EST
TV: ESPN (US), Amazon Prime (UK) Stream live sports and exclusive originals on ESPN+. Sign up now!
The 2021 ATP season is underway and the first tournament of the year is the Antalya Open in Turkey. Serbian Laslo Djere faces Dimitar Kuzmanov of Bulgaria in a First Round encounter. Laslo Djere leads the head to head 1-0. Will he extend it to 2-0 or does Kuzmanov have what it takes to even the score?
Laslo Djere is currently ranked #55, and has been as high as #27 a couple years ago. He is a relatively accomplished player with two ATP titles, both on clay. He has heavy groundstrokes and loves to dictate the rallies from the baseline. However his heavy spin is less effective on the hard courts, which is a key reason that he has not found as much success on this surface. However he will draw confidence from the fact that he simply is a more accomplished and experienced player, and is fresher than his opponent. He enters the match as the clear favorite.
Dimitar Kuzmanov is currently ranked #298 but is more talented than his ranking suggests. He is a relatively accomplished player at the lower levels but hardly has any experience at this level. He ended 2020 on a high note, playing the match of his life and narrowly losing to Salvatore Caruso in Sofia after getting a main draw berth as a Wild Card. He knows he is the underdog here but that should allow him to play fearless tennis, without any pressure. He has a big serve and will attempt to use that to his advantage as his opponent struggles with the return of serve at times. One area of concern is that he had a marathon three and a half hour long match in the Qualifying Rounds so he may not have much left in the tank.
I am going to pick Laslo Djere to win this match. Several factors are in his favor - he is simply the better and more experienced player at this level, and he is significantly fresher than his opponent that came through the Qualifying Rounds. This should be a routine win for the Serbian. Laslo Djere to win.