Santillan Continues Good Run At El Espinar Challenger

Akira Santillan

SEGOVIA, July 27, 2016

The first four players found their way into the quarterfinals of the €64,000 Open Castilla y León Challenger, held at the Villa de El Espinar. Third seed Illya Marchenko gained a comfortable 6-3, 6-4 victory over Ruben Bemelmans. The world number 72 from the Ukraine withstood seven aces, hitting four of his own to advance in 64 minutes.

Illya Marchenko

Illya Marchenko

Marchenko will next play the tournament’s number seven Kenny de Schepper. The 29-year-old Frenchman defeated Roberto Ortega-Olmedo 6-3, 6-3. De Schepper lost his serve only once and converted four of his own nine break point chances to prevail in exactly one hour of play.

“I played a really solid first set, feeling comfortable on the court. He made a couple of mistakes and I was just focused on the match,” de Schepper told. “I have known Illya for a long time. We played here three years ago and I beat him. It is going to be a tough match again.”

Wild card Akira Santillan continued his winning streak with a 6-4, 6-0 victory over Jorge Hernando Ruano. The only 19-year-old from Japan sent down seven aces, winning 80% of his first service points to finish the encounter in only 44 minutes.

“I felt good on court today. For the next match, I will just go on court and we will see what is going to happen,” the teenager told.

Luca Vanni

Luca Vanni

Santillan will next take on Luca Vanni. The Italian veteran rallied back from a set down to overcome Yannick Mertens 6-7, 6-0, 6-3. Vanni fired 11 aces and capitalized on five of his seven break point opportunities to seal the deal in one hour and 48 minutes.

“I was a break up in the first set but a bad decision from the umpire and a good game from Mertens made him to recover. He played better in the tie-break and deserved to win the first set,” Vanni had to admit.

“I gained an early break in the second set and build up some confidence and fought until the end.”