STUTTGART, June 11, 2018
A German teenager headlined Monday’s first round action at the MercedesCup when the grass-court season kicked off in Stuttgart. Rudolf Molleker delighted the home crowd with his first main draw match win on the ATP World Tour.
The 17-year-old German defeated compatriot Jan-Lennard Struff 6-4, 6-7, 6-3 in the opening match on Centre Court. Molleker fired 26 aces, winning 76 per cent of his first service points to secure victory in one hour and 54 minutes.
“Of course, I was a bit excited but I served well from the beginning. I believed in my strengths and it worked out in the end,” Molleker was pleased with his performance.
“This was only my third or fourth match on grass but I arrived here pretty early in order to get the best possible preparation. I actually prefer playing on clay but this may change with time.”
The World No. 303, who entered the main draw with a wild card, continued his good run of form following his maiden triumph on the ATP Challenger Tour in Heilbronn two weeks ago.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling to earn my first main draw win on home soil,” the youngest player in the Stuttgart field said. “It felt great to have the crowd have my back and I just enjoyed the centre court feeling. It’s a great experience for me and hopefully I can go on.”
Next up for Molleker will be defending champion and No. 2 seed Lucas Pouille from France.
Federer to open Stuttgart campaign against Zverev
Roger Federer will start his title bid against Mischa Zverev. The 30-year-old German beat Russian qualifier Mikhail Youzhny 7-6, 6-3. Zverev saved the only break point he faced, converting one of his own six chances to advance in one hour and 30 minutes.
Zverev will challenge Federer for the sixth time and has yet to win a set against the Swiss maestro. The encounter will be played on Wednesday not before 3 pm local time.
Florian Mayer emerged victorious from the all-German-affair with Yannick Maden 6-4, 6-1 and will next play either Philipp Kohlschreiber or Denis Istomin.
Elsewhere, Guido Pella from Argentina beat Australia’s John Millman 6-2, 6-2. The World No. 75 will next play the winner of the encounter between #NextGenATP Canadian Denis Shapovalov and Indian qualifier Prajnesh Gunneswaran. Their final match on Centre Court was postponed to Tuesday due to bad weather.