SOPHIA ANTIPOLIS, April 4, 2017
The European clay court season has kicked off with the inaugural €64,000 Verrazzano Open, held at the French based Mouratoglou Tennis Academy in the heart of Sophia Antipolis this week.
Four players of the top 100 entered the main draw of the ATP Challenger event led by World No. 40 Benoit Paire from France. The top seed opened his title bid with a 6-1, 6-4 win over Argentine Marco Trungelliti.
Paire sent down six aces, winning 78 per cent of his first service points to advance in exactly one hour of play. The 27-year-old from Avignon will next face Belgian qualifier Kimmer Coppejans, who eased past 18-year-old Stefanos Tsitsipas from Greece 6-2, 6-4.
Marco Cecchinato of Italy caused the upset of the opening days, knocking out second favourite Nicolas Almagro 6-2, 2-6, 6-3 on Tuesday evening. In the pair’s second meeting, the 24-year-old from Sicily capitalized on five of his eight break point chances to celebrate his first win over the World No. 57 from Spain. The encounter lasted one hour and 41 minutes.
Next up for Cecchinato will be Uladzimir Ignatik. The 26-year-old from Belarus ousted Israeli teenager Yshai Oliel 6-4, 6-4 on Monday.
The tournament’s number three Guillermo Garcia-López beat French teenage sensation Corentin Moutet, who made it to the semi-finals at the ATP Challenger in Saint Brieuc last week, 6-2, 7-5. The Spanish veteran won 90 per cent of his first service points and broke serve four times to advance in one hour and 20 minutes. Garcia-López will next play Lukas Rosol from the Czech Republic.
Fifth seed Paul-Henri Mathieu defeated Laslo Djere from Serbia, who captured his ninth ITF Pro Circuit title in Opatija last Sunday, 6-3, 6-4. The French veteran will next take on Marton Fucsovics, who cruised past Kenny de Schepper, winning 6-1, 6-2 in just under one hour of play.