SOFIA, February 6, 2017
Three German players advanced to the main draw at the second edition of the Garanti Koza Sofia Open, highlighted by Daniel Brands, who knocked out the top seed of the qualifying on Monday afternoon.
The 29-year-old from Deggendorf battled past Teymuraz Gabashvili from Russia, winning 6-4, 3-6, 6-4. Brands fired 14 aces and despite making three points less than his opponent he sealed victory after exactly two hours of play. The World No. 225 will take on Marco Chiudinelli from Switzerland. Brands played his last ATP World Tour main draw match last year here in Sofia, falling to eventual runner-up Viktor Troicki in the second round.
Brands will be joined by Cedric-Marcel Stebe. The 26-year-old from Vaihingen defeated Miljan Zekic of Serbia 7-6, 6-0, winning 76 per cent of his first service points. Stebe finished the encounter after one hour and 28 minutes. He will appear in his first ATP World Tour main draw since April last year in Munich, facing lucky loser Teymuraz Gabashvili. The Russian replaces Philipp Kohlschreiber, who withdraw due to back injury.
Maximilian Marterer completes the German trio. The 21-year-old from Nuremberg edged past Marko Tepavac from Serbia, capitalizing on two of his five break points to seal a 7-6, 7-5 victory in one hour and 20 minutes. Marterer, who captured two titles on the ATP Challenger Tour last year will play Belgium’s Davis Cup hero Steve Darcis. Marterer, ranked World No. 168, is looking to gain his first tour-level match win in his fifth attempt.
Mathias Bourgue beat Serbian Filip Krajinovic 7-6, 6-4 to become the fourth qualifier. The Frenchman will take on fifth seed Gilles Muller from Luxembourg.
Dimitrov To Play At Home
The second-year of the Garanti Koza Sofia Open features an outstanding line-up with four players in the Top 20 Emirates ATP Rankings. Last year was the first time since 1981 that an ATP World Tour level tournament was held in the capital city of Bulgaria.
In-form local Grigor Dimitrov headlines the tournament’s field, which features top seeded Austrian Dominic Thiem, second favourite David Goffin from Belgium and defending champion Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain. Dimitrov comes into his home country tournament with a 10-1 match record on the season. The 25-year-old from Haskovo won his fifth career ATP World Tour title in Brisbane.
After a first round bye, Dimitrov awaits the winner of the match between Jerzy Janowicz and Dudi Sela. The World No. 13 is looking for his first pro tournament match win (0-4) on home soil. Dimitrov lost in the opening rounds of the 2007 ITF Future events in Sofia and in Rousse, as well as at the Sofia Challengers in 2008 and 2009.