SOFIA, February 7, 2017
Lefties Gilles Muller of Luxembourg and Martin Klizan from Slovakia headlined Tuesday’s first round action at the Garanti Koza Sofia Open, held at Arena Armeec.
Muller opened his campaign in Bulgaria’s capital city with a 6-3, 6-2 win over French qualifier Mathias Bourgue. The fifth seed, who advanced to the semi-finals here last year and started into the season with his first ATP World Tour title in Sydney, fired 17 aces, saved all of the six break points he faced, converting on two of his own to prevail in one hour and 23 minutes. Muller will next play Mikhail Youzhny. The Russian veteran defeated Serbian lucky loser Marko Tepavac 7-6, 6-4.
Klizan edged past Andrey Kuznetsov from Russia, winning 6-0, 7-6. The eighth seeded Slovakian won 59 per cent of the total points played to set a second round meeting with either Marco Chiudinelli of Switzerland or German qualifier Daniel Brands.
In the evening session, Belgian Steve Darcis denied Maximilian Marterer‘s fifth attempt to post his first career ATP World Tour match win. Darcis, who lifted his country to a 4-1 Davis Cup win over Germany last weekend in Frankfurt with wins over World No. 29 Philipp Kohlschreiber and World No. 22 Alexander Zverev, beat the German qualifier 6-3, 7-6.
The 32-year-old Liège native lost his serve only once and capitalized on two of his own six break point chances to seal victory in one hour and 24 minutes.
“The start was pretty tough, as I couldn’t get really used to the conditions here. I just hit a few balls this morning, so I am really happy to win this match,” Darcis told afterwards.
Next up for Darcis will be the winner of the encounter between Italian Andreas Seppi and Damir Dzumhur of Bosnia and Herzegovina.