POPRAD TATRY, June 14, 2016
Top-seed and local hero Martin Klizan made a winning start into the €42,500 Poprad Tatry Challenger Tour, winning 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 against Croatian qualifier Nikola Mektic.
The world number 50 from Bratislava smashed eight aces, winning 68% of his first service points to advance after one hour and 57 minutes.
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“It’s better to play at home having the crowd with you and maybe giving you an advantage. Nonetheless, it’s going to be tough for me, as I had a long rest since Indian Wells. Now I am ready and fit again and I asked for a wild card to play here. I want to prepare on the Challenger Tour in order to get some match practice, confidence and maybe some points before I play the bigger tournaments,” Klizan told ahead of the tournament. He only played one match since Indian Wells but was forced to retire in his first round encounter of the French Open against Taro Daniel suffering from cervicobrachial neuralgia. Klizan will next take on Oriol Roca Batalla, who fought past Ukrainian qualifier Vitaly Sachko 4-6, 6-3, 7-5.
With fourth seed Andrej Martin (def. Nils Langer 7-5, 6-7, 6-2), seventh favourite Jozef Kovalik (def. Joris de Loore 7-6, 3-6, 6-4) and Norbert Gombos (def. Tomas Lipovsek Puches 6-2, 6-4), three more Slovakian player found their way into the second round.
Defending champion Adam Pavlasek, who lifted the trophy at the Prague Open last Saturday, ousted Andrey Golubev 7-5, 6-3. The 21-year-old Czech, who has cracked the top 100 for the first time in his career, won 78% of his first service points and capitalized on three of his seven break point opportunities to seal victory in one hour and 23 minutes. Pavlasek will play fellow countryman Robin Stanek next.
On Monday, the tournament’s number two Horacio Zeballos eased past Jan Satral, winning 6-2, 6-1. The 31-year-old Argentine saved all four break points he faced, converting five of his own to prevail in 61 minutes. He faces Uladzimir Ignatik next.