L’AQUILA, August 22, 2019
The quarterfinals of the Internazionali Di Tennis Citta’ Dell’Aquila are set. Aleksandar Vukic of Australia defeated No. 5 seed Pavel Kotov from Russia 6-4, 6-3 on a sunny Thursday morning in the Abruzzo region.
The ninth seed of the €46,600 ATP Challenger event capitalized on five of his 16 break point opportunities to advance after one hour and 27 minutes.
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“It was a tough match with a lot of breaks,” Vukic told Tennis TourTalk. The 23-year-old was born in Sydney but has European roots. “My dad is from Montenegro and my mum is from Bosnia. After the war they moved to Australia. I fortunately raised over there in a great country. Now I am representing the country and I am very happy with it.”
Vukic played college tennis in the United States at the University of Illinois and graduated last year with a degree in finance.
“I wasn’t ready to go pro when I was around 17. I didn’t feel ready to travel week in week out and to compete with a lot of guys, who all play a great level of tennis. I got a lot better in college. It’s the environment a there are also a lot of great players, who eventually made it into the top 150. When you are still young, college is a great path,” said Vukic and added:
“It took some time to get used to the red clay here in Europe. I have started to play over the last year and I feel more and more comfortable. I first came on the red clay right after college and I just got destroyed. It was a learning experience but I think clay also helped my game on hard court. Here is a bit of altitude, a bit quicker but I like those kind of conditions. It’s a beautiful city, mountainous. It’s gorgeous.”
The current World No. 274, who clinched one title on the ITF Pro Circuit two years ago and made into two semi-finals on the ATP Challenger Tour this season, will next take on Carlos Taberner. The 22-year-old Spaniard beat Marc-Andrea Huesler of Switzerland 7-5, 6-2 in one hour and 13 minutes.
Martin, Popko advance
Later in the afternoon, top seed Andrej Martin booked his spot in the stage of the final eight with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over German veteran Peter Torebko. The World No. 137 from Slovakia capitalized on all of his five break point chances to advance after one hour and 23 minutes. Up next for Martin will be Guilherme Clezar of Brazil, who fought past Facundo Mena from Argentina, winning 6-7(3), 6-4, 6-4. The encounter lasted two hours and 37 minutes.
Johannes Haerteis continued his good run of form by taking out ITF-entry Juan Pablo Ficovich of Argentina. The 23-year-old German won 6-3, 7-6(6) in one hour and 38 minutes to set a quarterfinals clash with No. 3 seed Dmitry Popko. The World No. 262 from Kazakhstan edged past Jurgen Zopp of Estonia, winning 6-3, 7-6(5) in one hour and 17 minutes.
Andrea Collarini will take on fellow Argentine Francisco Cerundolo in the remaining quarterfinal on Friday. Matches at the Circolo Tennis L’Aquila will start at 10 am.