It was his first match in almost a month and he was indeed a bit rusty, especially during the early stages... But in the end, David had no difficulties, defeating Aljaz Bedene 6-4, 6-3 in exactly 80 minutes.
David's next opponent in the quarterfinal will now be Joao Souza. But first of all he gets a day off tomorrow, ahead of quarterfinals day on Friday.
|(Getty Images/teniskisvet.com; montage by VD)|
Theoretically, this was supposed to be David's second match at Belgrade, after playing doubles with Edu Schwank, yesterday. That doubles match didn't come to pass - but not because of David. It was Edu Schwank, who decided to call it off, after some tough matches he had, qualifying for singles and then also beating Dudi Sela in the first round, yesterday.
So David's Belgrade premiere will be tonight's prime-time match against Aljaz Bedene, currently ranked #156. And perhaps needless to say, they've never met before.
For 22-year-old Aljaz Bedene from Slovenia (not to be confused with Slovakia), it's the third time in his career that he has managed to qualify for a an ATP-level event. Last year, he cracked the Top200 for the first time, after reaching the second round at Vienna (lost to Tommy Haas). This season, he qualified for the main draw at Barcelona but then lost in the first round to Federico Delbonis. At Belgrade, Bedene made it through qualies without dropping a set and then also defeated Martin Klizan in straights, in the first round, yesterday. At the Challenger level, Bedene has had some good results this year, having won two events on clay, most notably the Barletta Challenger, where he beat Potito Starace in the final.
With a current ranking of #156, Aljaz Bedene is the lowest-ranked opponent David has faced this season. But since Bedene has already played four matches at Belgrade, he'll be used to the conditions. David on the other hand will probably be a bit rusty, after not having played in almost a month. For Bedene, this is going to be one of the biggest matches (if not the biggest one) in his still young career. For David, it's going to be match number 546, another early-round encounter against a player he has never met or seen before...
Here's hoping it'll be a good one and a good start at Belgrade.