PORTOROZ, August 11, 2015
The top favourites of the € 42,500 ATP Challenger Tilia Slovenia Open were all in action on a sunny and hot Tuesday in Portoroz.
Top-seed Marcel Granollers crashed out after he lost to Evgeny Donskoy for the second time within four days. Both players met in the semi-finals of the ATP Challenger in El Espinar on Saturday and faced each other again on centre court in Portoroz. Donskoy dominated most of the rallies, winning 85% of his first service points and was more effective on break points. The 25-year-old Russian, who claimed the title in Spain on Sunday, converted three of his seven chances to seal victory in one hour and 35 minutes, winning 7-6, 6-2.
“I am just feeling good and more confident than him. I think that was the key today,” Donskoy told Tennis TourTalk afterwards. “It wasn’t easy to adapt to the conditions. Yesterday was really tough. This morning during the practice it became better and in the match it was really good,” the world number 138 said about coming from the altitude in El Espinar back to sea level in Portoroz. “Physically I am good. I try to do every match step by step but of course I want to go as deep as possible into this week.”
Donskoy will face Calvin Hemery next. The 20-year-old Frenchman defeated Edoardo Eremin, winning 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 in two hours and 13 minutes.
Third seed Kimmer Coppejans also lost in the opening round. The 21-year-old Belgian only won 39% of his first service points and lost 1-6, 2-6 to Jonathan Eysseric in exactly one hour of play. The lucky loser from France will take on Slovenian wild card Aljaz Radinski next.
The tournament’s second favourite Paolo Lorenzi opened his Portoroz campaign successfully. The 33-year-old Italian claimed the ATP Challenger title in Cortina last Sunday and needed some time to find his rhythm but finally overcame Aldin Setkic, winning 6-7, 6-1, 6-3. Lorenzi hit seven aces and capitalized on three of his five break point chances to close the match after two hours and 28 minutes.
“In the beginning he was playing much better than me, although I had two set points and therewith the chance to take the frame. In the second and third set I played more aggressively and I fought until the end, which was the most important thing,” the world number 80 told Tennis TourTalk after a tough match in the heat on centre court. Lorenzi played his last two tournaments in the altitudes of Gstaad as well as Cortina and needed some time to adapt to the conditions. “I think that was the most difficult thing. The last 20 days I was playing in 1,200 metres and now the balls are not jumping for me. So, I think that I need to play more matches to get the right feeling,” Lorenzi explained. The Italian also had a special experience along last week’s tournament in Cortina, playing in the Dolomite Alps in about 3,000 metres. “This was fantastic! I have never been there and the panorama was amazing. I hope to go there again for skiing because I think it is a beautiful place.”
Lorenzi will take on David Guez next. The 32-year-old Frenchman defeated Christian Garin 7-5, 2-6, 7-5 in two hours and 30 minutes.
Fourth-seed Lukas Lacko beat Slovenian wild card Aljaz Jakob Kaplja, winning 6-2, 6-1. The 18-year-old local played his first ATP Challenger event and was without any chance against the experienced Slovakian. Lacko didn’t face a break point and converted five of his own to prevail after 51 minutes.
The world number 117 will meet another Slovenian in the second round but this encounter will be more challenging, taking on Grega Zemlja. The 28-year-old from Kranj defeated Andrea Arnaboldi, winning 6-4, 5-7, 6-1. Zemlja won 75% of his first service points and saved eight from this nine break points he faced to advance after two hours and seven minutes.
Tennis TourTalk spoke to Zemlja: