POPRAD TATRY, June 19, 2017
Lloyd Harris from South Africa headlined Monday’s first round action at the €64,000 Poprad-Tatry Challenger, knocking out the tournament’s number four Uladzimir Ignatik of Belarus.
The 20-year-old saved both break points he faced, converting four of his own to secure a 7-6, 6-3 victory in one hour and 31 minutes.
“I played very well today. Obviously he was a tough opponent. I haven’t played him before. I didn’t start off so good, losing my serve in the first set and couldn’t really find my rhythm. It was a little bit up and down but overall I did well to pull it through,” Harris told afterwards.
The youngster is one of six men, who have been awarded grants from the Grand Slam Development Fund Committee. It has been given to players who meet specific age, ranking and regional representation criteria and show exceptional potential.
“I was the one from Africa and that is amazing. I am very fortunate to get support from them. It allows me to travel all over the world. I am very thankful to make my dream come true. My goal is to get into the qualifying of all the Grand Slams as soon as possible.”
Next up in Poprad will be the winner of Tuesday’s encounter between Germany’s Cedrik-Marcel Stebe and Agustin Velotti of Argentina.
Second seed Santiago Giraldo had to fight hard to overcome Riccardo Bellotti from Italy, rallying 5-7, 6-3, 6-1. The World No. 100 from Colombia, who is playing his first ATP Challenger event since Irving in March, won 77 per cent of his first service points and broke serve six times to prevail after two hours and 22 minutes.
“It’s always difficult play the first match in the altitude. I also didn’t feel too confident with my shots but the ambition is to win the tournament. However, I want to go match by match,” said Giraldo, who is making his first appearance in Slovakia.
He will next take on Austrian Sebastian Ofner, who defeated youngster Dmitry Popko from Kazkakhstan 6-4, 6-4. The 21-year-old from Sankt Marein finished the encounter after one hour and 45 minutes.
Elias Ymer set a possible second round clash with local favourite Andrej Martin. The Swedish youngster beat Christopher O’Connell from Australia 6-4, 6-4. Ymer capitalized on three of his five break point chances to advance in one hour and 38 minutes.
Eighth seed Filip Krajinovic also advanced for the loss of just four games, dismissing Austrian qualifier Dennis Novak 6-4, 6-0 in exactly one hour of play. The World No. 187 from Serbian, who captured his fifth ATP Challenger career crown in Heilbronn this season, will face either Attila Balazs of Hungary or Canadian Frank Dancevic in the second round.
In the final match on centre court, sixth favourite Roberto Carballés-Baena of Spain eased past Federico Coria from Argentina, winning 6-0, 6-1 in 61 minutes and awaits the either Austrian Michael Linzer of Petr Michnev from the Czech Republic next.