Italian Open men’s quarter final preview: Novak Djokovic vs Dominic Koepfer
World No 1 Novak Djokovic will face 26-year-old German Dominic Koepfer in the quarter final of the Italian Open on Saturday.
Djokovic, who is yet to lose a completed match on the tour so far this year, faced a stern test in his third round encounter against compatriot Filip Krajinovic, conceding five break points and recovering from a 4-1 deficit in the first set tiebreaker before winning in straight sets 7-6(7) 6-3.
The four-time champion now faces Dominic Koepfer, which will be his 14th quarter final appearance at the Italian Open in 14 main draw appearances. The World No 1 has fallen short at this stage on three previous occasions, two of which were against left-handed opponents in Rafael Nadal (2007) and Fernando Verdasco (2010), which could lend the left-handed Koepfer some encouragement.
The qualifier, who hadn’t played a main draw match in a Masters 1000 event before this week, saved a match point to upset Alex de Minaur in three sets before defeating the returning Monfils and booking his quarter final berth with a straight-set victory over the promising Italian Lorenzo Musetti, including a second set bagel.
The last time a qualifier reached the quarter final stage in a Masters 1000 event was Jerzy Janowicz in Paris 2012, with Janowicz overcoming Serbian Janko Tipsarevic before losing to David Ferrer in the final.
The quarter final on Saturday will be the first meeting between the pair, with the 26-year-old German, who only turned pro in 2016, eyeing a huge upset which would see him reach a career-high ATP Ranking next week.
Considering the disparity in experience at this level, Djokovic is expected to dispatch the World No 97 in straight sets, which would see him face either Matteo Berrettini or Casper Ruud in the semi-final.
Prediction: Djokovic in straight sets
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