STUTTGART, June 8, 2019
While the men’s singles final at Roland Garros is yet to come, the grass-court season kicked off on Saturday with the qualifying of the MercedesCup. Second seed Alexander Bublik set a clash for a spot in the main draw of the ATP 250 event with Spanish veteran Feliciano Lopez.
Bublik cruised past Hiroki Moriya of Japan, winning 6-0, 6-3 in only 52 minutes. The 21-year-old from Kazakhstan, who clinched three titles on the ATP Challenger Tour this season and advanced to the second round of the French Open, fired 17 aces and won 62 per cent of the total points played.
Later in the day, Lopez defeated German wild card entry Tim Pütz, who was seeking his first singles match win since the ATP Challenger in Pullach in August last year, 7-6(1), 7-5. The 37-year-old from Toledo converted two of the nine break points he faced to secure victory in one hour and 45 minutes. Bublik won the only previous meeting between the two en-route to his title win at the Monterrey Challenger in April.
Prajnesh Gunneswaran, the top seed of the qualifying in Stuttgart, was forced to retire in his match against Italian Matteo Viola. The World No. 88 from India was trailing 7-6(6), 6-7(0), 1-2 when he stopped playing due to a shoulder injury. Viola will next take on Alexei Popyrin, who emerged victorious from the all-Australian battle with Maverick Banes. The 19-year-old Sydney native needed to a match point in the third set to eventually prevail 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(3) in one hour and 53 minutes.
Dustin Brown of Germany will take on Frenchman Gregoire Barrere and Sergiy Stakhovskyi from the Ukraine will face Croatia’s Viktor Galovic for a place in the main draw of the tournament with a total prize money of €754,540.
Main draw made
The main draw ceremony took place earlier in the day in Stuttgart’s city centre. The top four seeds led by World No. 5 Alexander Zverev receive a first-round bye. The 22-year-old German, who has already arrived in Swabia, will face either John Millman or a qualifier in his opening match. The Australian pushed Zverev in his first-round fight at Roland Garros to five sets.
Sieh dir diesen Beitrag auf Instagram an
No. 2 seed Karen Khachanov of Russia will play the winner of the first-round popcorn match between Australia’s Enfant terrible Nick Kyrgios and in-form Italian Matteo Berrettini. Third seeded Russian Daniil Medvedev will start his title bid against either 2017 MercedesCup champion Lucas Pouille of France or a qualifier.
Photo Gallery (by Florian Heer):