Novak Djokovic faces an all-Serbian clash with Filip Krajinovic for a place in the quarterfinals of the Rome Masters on…
Novak Djokovic faces an all-Serbian clash with Filip Krajinovic for a place in the quarterfinals of the Rome Masters on Friday.
Novak Djokovic vs Filip Krajinovic | ATP Rome Masters R16 | 18/9/2020Krajinovic +4.5 games 27/25 Bet Now! New Customers only. 18+. T&C’s Apply. begambleaware.org.
Djokovic vs Krajinovic is live from Rome on Friday 18 September
Not since falling in qualifying all the way back in 2006 has Novak Djokovic failed to reach the quarterfinals or better at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia – that’s a 13-year streak of making one of the last eight at the Foro Italico.
Djokovic accomplished the hard-to-clay transition smoothly when he beat Italian wildcard Salvatore Caruso, but big-serving compatriot Filip Krajinovic, on strong form, should be a tougher test.
Read on for our preview, predictions and live streaming information.
How to watch Djokovic vs Krajinovic live
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Djokovic vs Krajinovic: Head-to-head
Compatriots Djokovic and Krajinovic have played just once, at the now-defunct Belgrade tournament in 2010. Krajinovic won the first set before Djokovic retired.
Djokovic vs Krajinovic: Preview
There were many factors mitigating against four-time Rome Masters champion Djokovic being able to recover the title, five years after last winning it, this week: The world no. 1 had to make a quick transition from hard courts to clay, had a possible left shoulder issue which troubled him in the US and most significantly had to bounce back from a shockingly abrupt and premature ending to his US Open campaign when he was defaulted after accidentally striking a linesperson with a ball.
But Djokovic has yet to lose a completed match in 2020, and he played a very good one to beat Salvatore Caruso on Wednesday. The Italian is at a career-high world no. 87 and has played some really good tennis recently, and he played about as well as he can play against Djokovic in the first set especially. Djokovic still won, serving extremely solidly – he lost six points behind his first serve for the match – and constructing points beautifully to protect his second serve, only losing five points behind that delivery. He also converted three of the eight break points he created in the 84-minute match, and didn’t face a single break point himself.
Djokovic’s serve and forehand (his backhand and movement are always sublime) looked particularly good in New York, and they did against Caruso too. Krajinovic, however, will present a different challenge. The big-serving Serb is currently ranked world no. 29, just three places below his 2018 career-high ranking which followed a 71-22 season in 2017, including five Challenger titles on clay and a run to the final of the Paris Masters as a qualifier, beating Sam Querrey and John Isner on the way.
Often injured and prone to inconsistency, Krajinovic nevertheless had a solid 2019, reaching two ATP Tour finals, and although he fell tamely to Roger Federer in the second round of the Australian Open, he went on to make back-to-back semifinals on indoor hard courts in Montpellier and Rotterdam. Post-shutdown, Krajinovic picked up where he left off with a quarterfinal run in ‘Cincinnati’ which included a 6-2, 6- 1 defeat of Dominic Thiem, the second top-10 win of his career and first in a completed match; he reached the third round of the US Open, and in Rome beat Felix Auger-Aliassime and former surprise French Open semifinalist Marco Cecchinato to reach the last 16.
It could be an interesting clash and very much a family affair, with Djokovic a long-time friend and mentor of Krajinovic, who is now coached by Janko Tipsarevic, another old friend of Djokovic’s. Krajinovic is a very talented player, and if he produces his best on the day, I could absolutely see him and his combination of big serve and big forehand taking a set from Djokovic, although I don’t think he could keep it up. I’m not sure he’ll take a set, but I do think Krajinovic can keep it close.