BUDAPEST, April 20, 2019
The ATP Tour has returned to Budapest for the third edition of the Hungarian Open. Tennis action kicked off with the qualifying on a sunny Saturday at the Sport 11 venue highlighted by two teenagers.
Top seed Miomir Kecmamoniv opened the day with a comfortable 6-3, 6-4 win over Italian Alessandro Giannessi. The 19-year-old Serbian, who started into the clay-court season with a straight-sets defeat against Elias Ymer of Sweden in the qualifying of the Rolex Monte Carlo Masters last week, dominated the encounter right from the beginning. Kecmanovic sent down six aces, saved both break points he faced, converting two of his own seven opportunities to advance in one hour and 11 minutes.
“The match was okay, I played well. It was a bit difficult at the start, as it was only the second match on clay but I am happy to get through,” Kecmanovic told Tennis TourTalk after the encounter. “I grew up on the clay and like it but spent a lot more time on the hard court. You just need some time to get used to the conditions again.”
The Belgrade native, an IMG Academy alumnus, had a great start into the hard court season, reaching the stage of the final eight in Indian Wells.
“It was an unreal experience to make a quarters of a Masters and breaking into the top 100. Some really two special weeks, which helped me, as I gained a lot of confidence.”
Ealier in the year, Kecmanovic, reached his first Grand Slam main draw at the Australian Open in Melbourne, where he lost to Spanish veteran Fernando Verdasco in the first round.
“That was unreal, too. Playing your first Slam, the biggest tournaments we have in tennis. I was really happy to finally be able to make it to a main draw and see how the other guys play.”
Asked about the goals for the rest of the season, Kecmanovic stated: “To improve and to stay healthy, finishing the year in the top 100.”
Next up will be Sergiy Stakhovsky from the Ukraine for a spot in the main draw. The 33-year-old from the Ukraine beat Germany’s Daniel Brands 7-5, 6-1.
Sinner one win away from maiden ATP Tour main draw
Later in the day, Jannik Sinner benefited from the retirement of Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic, leading 6-2, 3-0 after 42 minutes. The 17-year-old Italian wild card entry is only one win away to qualify for his first ATP Tour main draw, taking on No. 4 seeded German Yannick Maden, who fought past local favourite Zsombor Piros 6-4, 1-6, 6-3.
“We both didn’t play our best tennis. The court is very slow and breaks can happen pretty often. Overall it was a good match and let’s see how it goes on,” commented Sinner, who clinched his maiden ATP Challenger title in Bergamo in February and continued his good run of form by lifting two more trophies on the ITF World Tennis Tour.
“I think that I have already made the next step, leaving the ITF tournaments and trying to establish on the ATP Challenger Tour. Maybe there is also the chance to get a wild card for some of the ATP Tour events.”
It’s Sinner’s first time here in Budapest. “I arrived here two days ago and it seems to be a great city.”
Sinner got ready for the clay-court season at the Monte Carlo Country Club this week. “I practice at the Piatti Academy, which is pretty close to Monte Carlo and we asked for a wild card into the qualifying. I went from Bordighera to Monte Carlo and back every day, as I practiced a lot over there. I had the chance to play with a lot of players and focused on the younger guys like Shapovalov. We played a lot together. I also had a warm-up session with Novak Djokovic for his opening match. It was a great experience.”
Main draw made
— Florian Heer (@Florian_Heer) 20. April 2019
The Hungarian Open replaced the former ATP 250 event in Bucharest, Romania. It marked the first time that the country hosted an ATP Tour tournament. This year’s top seed is World No. 11 Marin Cilic of Croatia, who awaits after a first-round bye, either a qualifier or Pablo Cuevas from Uruguay. No. 2 seed Borna Coric will open his Budapest campaign against the winner of the encounter between Robin Haase from the Netherlands and Thomas Fabbiano of Italy.
The draw ceremony took place inside the Aria Hotel rooftop bar, located in the centre of the city and next to St. Stephen’s Basilica. Wild card recipient Malte Valkusz of Hungary and Australian John Millman attended the event in the early evening.
20-year-old Valkusz, who took his first title of the season at the ITF Isatrska Rivijera in Opatija last month, will compete in his first ATP main draw match against Monte Carlo finalist Dusan Lajovic of Serbia. No. 8 seed Millman starts against a qualifier.