HAMBURG, October 24, 2019 (by Alessandro Boroch)
Thursday’s third-round action at the €46,600 Tennis Challenger Hamburg presented by Tannenhof was headlined by the victory of Altug Celikbilek, who upset No. 4 seed Sergiy Stakhovsky.
The unseeded Turkish, who entered the tournament as an alternate, scored the biggest upset of the day, beating the Ukrainian veteran 7-6(6), 6-2 in an hour and 29 minutes.
“I actually know him from last year when he beat me in a tight match. I knew that I will have good chances to beat him today, if I play my best tennis,” Celikbilek said. “I needed to return well as he is a big server, and I knew, that when he runs to the net, I had to pass him. I was the better player from the baseline today, which helped me a lot.”
Celikbilek enjoys a home advantage in Hamburg, as the city has become his home of choice since he clinched the title of the Tennis Future Hamburg last year and he still trains at the venue of the Tennis Federation Hamburg.
“All the people who are working and living here and came to watch me today, I like them so much, you know. In the close situations, when you need some strength, I felt their support which helped me a lot,” the Antalya native said.
No 2. seed Elias Ymer from Sweden opened today’s Centre Court action. The 23-year-old Swede came back from a break down in both sets to eventually secure a 7-5, 7-5 victory against No. 15 seed Filip Horansky from Slovakia.
“I think I was served extremely well today. My serve was there, I hit a lot of aces. If you serve well, it is always nice to play as you get many easy points,” the 23-year-old Swede told Tennis TourTalk.
“Yesterday’s match was really tough, I saved two match points. It had a big effect on my confidence, it helped me a lot. Physically, I was totally fine today, my recent injury doesn’t affect me anymore. My serve is finally back, because when I had my injury, I felt a lot of pain while serving which is no longer the case,” commented Ymer on Wednesday’s marathon match against Ruben Bemelmans and his current physical situation.
Next up for Ymer will be Daniel Altmaier from Germany, who saved five set points in the second set to earn a straight-sets victory over 24-year-old Jelle Sels, 6-4, 7-6(8).
Well this is a nice way to celebrate from Altmaier after coming back from 2-6 down in the tie-break to seal a 6-4, 7-6(8) victory. pic.twitter.com/wkJhU1Jz5S
— Alex | Tennis 🎾 (@Alex_Boroch) October 24, 2019
“The most important aspect for today’s victory was my serve. The second set was totally even, I was very lucky to have won in straight sets. Obviously 90 per cent of the time you lose a tie-break in which you were 2-6 down,” said Altmaier after the match.
World No. 270 Botic Van de Zandschulp from the Netherlands also scored a little upset by beating third seed Gianluca Mager comfortably in straight-sets, 6-3, 6-2 after just 71 minutes.
“The first game of the match was crucial for me,” van de Zandschulp said. “Then I held my service game and I was starting to serve really well. I was happy with how I played from the baseline.”
Caruso survives Napolitano
No. 1 seed Salvatore Caruso continues his title bid at the Tennis Challenger Hamburg, beating unseeded compatriot Stefano Napolitano 7-5, 2-6, 6-2 in two hours and 35 minutes.
The 26-year-old Italian, who reached the third round of this year’s French Open, is bidding to win his second Challenger title of the month in Hamburg, after he was crowned champion at the Sanchez-Casal Academy in Barcelona earlier in October.
The last singles match on Centre Court was played between 29-year-old German Cedrik-Marcel Stebe and his compatriot Tobias Kamke. Stebe, who already climbed 350 spots in the ATP ranking this year after coming back from an injury break, broke his opponent’s serve four times to claim a 6-3, 6-2 victory after one hour and 16 minutes.
Also in action were No. 6 seed Federico Gaio, who ousted Cem Ilkel from Turkey by the score of 6-3, 6-3, and 22-year-old Spaniard Bernabe Zapata Miralles, who sealed a 6-3, 7-6(4) victory over Serbian veteran Viktor Troicki.