HEILBRONN, May 11, 2016
Heilbronn’s top-seed Ricardas Berankis stepped into action on Tuesday at the €64,000 Neckarcup but was knocked out by Marsel Ilhan, who secured a 6-3, 1-6, 6-3 win over the world number 54 from Lithuania in his opening match.
The 28-year-old from Turkey sent down seven aces, winning 71% of his first service points to advance in one hour and 32 minutes. He has claimed his first victory on the dirt since Gstaad in July last year. “It’s just great weather to play tennis,” the Samarkand native stated afterwards, although matches were interrupted due to rain.
“He had his chances, but couldn’t capitalize,” said Dirk Hordorff, who accompanied Berankis in Heilbronn.
Ilhan will meet Carlos Berlocq in the second round. The clay court fighter from Argentina ousted Serbian wild card and former world number eight Janko Tipsarevic 7-5, 6-3. Berlocq took a late revenge for the defeat in the only previous meeting between the two at Campo do Jordao Challenger 12 years ago.
The tournament’s number three Albert Montanes will remain the highest ranked player in the draw. The Spanish veteran beat Swiss qualifier Henri Laaksonen 6-4, 6-3. Montanes landed only 58% of his first services but won 71% of the points to advance after one hour and 24 minutes. The 35-year-old Barcelona resident will take on Nicolas Kicker next, who took out German qualifier Kevin Krawietz in straight set 6-4, 6-2.
Fourth seed Daniel Munoz de la Nava also fell in the opening, losing 6-4, 6-1 to Nikoloz Basilashvili. The world number 125 from Georgia won 55% of the total points setting a second round meeting with Blaz Rola after 65 minutes. The Slovenian got the better of Peter Torebko 3-6, 6-2, 6-3.
In the final match on centre court, sixth seed and the winner of the inaugural edition 2014 Jan-Lennard Struff emerged victorious from the all-German-affair with Mischa Zverev, winning two tie-break sets 7-6, 7-6. The 26-year-old from Warstein withstood 11 aces, hitting five of his own to gain his first win over his compatriot in the pair’s second tour meeting. The encounter lasted one hour and 53 minutes.
“I just feel comfortable here, seriously,” Struff pointed out. Best basis to take on Argentine Renzo Olivo in his next encounter on Wednesday.