Felix Auger-Aliassime vs Dusan Lajovic
Time: 4:00 PM IST
At the beginning of the 2023 season, Felix Auger Aliassime faced difficulties with both his fitness and form. Reports later revealed that he had been dealing with a left knee injury, which led him to take a break from competitive matches after the Miami Masters and miss the beginning of the European clay swing.
Unfortunately, the Canadian tennis player was unable to meet the high expectations set for him in the hard surface tournaments earlier this year. Consequently, he was unable to defend the points he had earned during the same phase of the 2022 season. Aliassime had some unexpected losses in the first four months of this year, including defeats to players like Jiri Lehecka, Alexei Popyrin, Francisco Cerundolo, and Lorenzo Sonego.
During the early stages of his career, the current world #9 invested a considerable amount of time playing on clay courts. He believed that doing so was crucial to building a solid foundation for his game, even opting to skip high-profile events on hard surfaces to focus on this aspect of his development. This dedication paid off when he became the first 16-year-old to win a Challenger title, triumphing on the clay courts in Lyon and Sevilla in 2017.
Despite his early success on clay, the 22-year-old has struggled to replicate similar results in prominent clay court events. He has never advanced beyond the quarterfinals in Masters events or slams on clay, with his best performance at the Madrid Masters being reaching the quarterfinals in 2022 after three attempts.
Dusan Lajovic’s remarkable form continued as he defeated Jason Kubler in straight sets during the first round of the Madrid Masters, extending his winning streak to six matches. The Serbian player had a career-best week in Banja Luka last week, where he caused major upsets by defeating Novak Djokovic and Andrey Rublev en route to winning the second ATP title of his career.
With the exception of a disappointing campaign at the Monte Carlo Masters, where he lost two matches in a row as a lucky loser, Lajovic has been performing at a consistently high level on clay this year. During the South American clay swing in Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, and Santiago, he secured three consecutive quarterfinal results, achieving a career-first on the main tour. He continued his impressive form by winning the Banja Luka title last week.
Dusan Lajovic should be able to put up a tough fight in this one.
Prediction: Back Dusan Lajovic to win a set