The 79th-ranked Alexei Popyrin faces the Italian challenge of Gianluca Mager, who is ranked 98th in the world in the second round of the 2021 Serbia Open on Thursday, April 22. Get the live streaming options of this Alexei Popyrin v Gianluca Mager match along with its preview, head to head, and tips here.
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Alexei Popyrin v Gianluca Mager Head to Head
No previous matches have been played between Popyrin and Mager before this second round match in Belgrade.
Popyrin Showing Clay Resurrection Signs
Not too fond of playing on clay, Popyrin had gone into her first round match against Francisco Cerundolo as only a marginal favourite and that is what showed in the end too. Popyrin needed three sets and two tie-breakers to get past his Argentinian opponent and was on court for two hours and 36 minutes before coming through to the second round.
The first set also looked to be headed into a tie-breaker after Popyrin seemed to have ridden an early storm but then against the run of play lost his serve in the ninth game. Popyrin then missed three break-points before his opponent served out the set to take the lead.
Cerundolo then broke early in the second set too but Popyrin levelled things out at 2-2, and then took the set into a tie-breaker where he edged it out 7-5.
A similar script came through in the third set as well when Popyrin raced away to a 3-0 lead, before three successive breaks of serves took them to five games apiece. Even there, Popyrin had to save a match-point and he did that again while serving at 5-6.
In the final set tie-breaker, Popyrin served his third match-point before converting his first to claim his place in the next round.
Mager Continues to Remain Solid on Clay
It has been the kind of season for Mager which should fill him up with a lot of confidence. Even before he came into the Barcelona Open, Mager had made it to the quarterfinals of the Zadar Challenger and he followed that up with a title win at the Marbella Challenger, overcoming Jaume Munar in the title-decider.
At this competition in Belgrade, Mager needed back to back three-setters to make it to the main draw of the tournament and facing Laslo Djere in his opener, the Italian world number 98 was at 5/2 winning odds.
Defying those odds, Mager registered a 6-4, 6-3 win over the favourite Djere in an hour and 33 minutes to come through and win the opener.
He broke Djere thrice and saved five of the six break-points he himself faced to carve out an easy win. And now against a player who hasn’t done too well on clay, he might not find it difficult to come through.
Popyrin v Mager Prediction and Tip
According to bookmakers, there isn’t much to choose between the two but we will be backing Mager to come through here given his form.
Tip: Mager to win: 5/6 (bet365)