TennisSection previews the 2021 Belgrade Open as Gael Monfils (2) meets Roberto Carballes Baena in the Round of 16 on Wednesday May 26th, 2021.
Will the flashy Frenchman Gael Monfils finally be able to get his season back on track with a strong performance here at the 2021 Belgrade Open? Or will Roberto Carballes Baena be yet another player upsetting Monfils this year? This looks like a straightforward match on paper but it really is quite even, given the Frenchman’s poor recent track record. Who will win here and advance to the Quarter-Finals?
Gael Monfils is currently ranked #15 in the ATP world rankings, and is a former top 10 player. The Frenchman has been in a prolonged slump over the past few months, and also has been plagued by injuries this year. After losing six matches in a row, he was able to get his first win of the season last week in Lyon, where he defeated Thiago Wild in the First Round before losing to Yoshihito Nishioka. He will be desperate to have a strong showing this week here at the 2021 Belgrade Open as he prepares for the French Open. Monfils should still be considered the favorite here against Roberto Carballes Baena, but the Spaniard is a very useful player on clay and certainly should not be underestimated.
Roberto Carballes Baena is ranked #98 in the world and has previously been as high as #72. Like his opponent Gael Monfils, the Spaniard has struggled this season and will be hoping for a good performance here at the 2021 Belgrade Open. Carballes Baena came through the Qualifying Rounds here, and was clinical in his First Round win over Arthur Rinderknech. He only needed an hour and twenty minutes to advance to the Round of 16 where he will meet yet another Frenchman in Gael Monfils. He was very efficient in that win, breaking serve five times and serving over 70% on his first serve. While he is ranked much lower than his opponent here, he will be backing himself to cause the upset due to Monfils’ poor form. If he serves well and is able to grind Monfils down with his consistent style of play, he has the potential to make this match very interesting.
This will be the first time that the two players have faced each other on the ATP Tour, and their head to head stands at 0-0. This match is likely to be very close, and while Gael Monfils is ranked over 80 spots higher than his opponent, his recent form leaves much to be desired. The formula is quite simply. If Monfils plays well, he is very likely to win as he has much more experience and firepower than his opponent Roberto Carballes Baena. However, it really is tough to trust the Frenchman these days, and his confidence has clearly taken a battering this year. All things considered, I am going to back the Frenchman here, but I do expect it to be a very close match, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Spaniard was able to sneak the win. I think that it will go right down to the wire, but I am giving the slight edge to Monfils here, who should win and advance to his first Quarter-Final of the year here at the 2021 Belgrade Open.
Free Tennis Pick and Prediction: Gael Monfils to win in three sets