Miomir Kecmanovic - Alexander Bublik
Alexander Bublik flopped in front of the home fans in the inaugural edition of ATP Nur-Sultan last year (R1 against Mackenzie McDonald), and he would be hoping for a better campaign this time around. However, he doesn't have to worry about yet another first-round exit from his home event as he is seeded #2 in the main draw and given a bye in the first round this week.
The big-serving Kazakh's game works quite well on indoor hard courts, and in fact, five of his ten title-winning campaigns (at all levels) so far in his career have come on the surface. He has gone 2-0 in the opening-round matches on indoor hard courts this year, and his best results on the surface in 2021 were finishing as the runner-up to Alexei Popyrin in ATP Singapore and upsetting Alexander Zverev in Rotterdam.
World #34 (career-high) competed thrice in the Challenger event in Nur-Sultan before, and he did well to reach at least the quarterfinal twice in 2016 (quarterfinal) and 2017 (semifinal).
Miomir Kecmanovic snapped his worrying five-match losing streak on the main tour and improved his season w/l tally to 13/20 with a straight-set win over fellow struggler Fernando Verdasco in the first round of ATP Nur-Sultan, 6-4 6-2.
This was the 2020 ATP Kitzbuhel champion's first outing on indoor hard courts this year. The last and only time he managed to score back-to-back main draw wins on the surface (in tour-level events) was in New York in February 2020, where he defeated the likes of Tommy Paul and Ugo Humbert to reach the semifinal.
Head-to-head: 0-0. Considering their ability on indoor hard courts and form over the last few months, Alexander Bublik is expected to hand Miomir Kecmanovic a consecutive round of 16 exit from ATP Nur-Sultan.