ECKENTAL, October 29, 2019 (by Dietmar Kaspar)
No. 15 seed Oscar Otte headlined Tuesday’s action of the Challenger Eckental, as the 26-year-old German knocked out 2014 champion Ruben Bemelmans to reach the third round of the International German Tennis Indoor Championships.
Otte was a set down but fought back against the three-time Eckental finalist from Belgium to prevail 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 after one hour and 40 minutes. The current World No. 161 lost two service games but converted four of his nine break-point chances and outpointed his 31-year-old rival 90-81.
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Cologne native Otte, who is coached by Peter Moraing, will next compete against either South African No. 3 seed Lloyd Harris or Stefano Napolitano from Italy.
“I had a bad start into the match and was mentally not on the court. My coach pushed me to wake up. In the second set, I used the momentum turned the match around. Last year here in Eckental, I suffered a defeat against Ruben, so I am very happy that I have won the match today,” Otte told Tennis TourTalk.
World No. 304 John-Patrick Smith opened today’s Centre Court play against local hero Johannes Haerteis, who entered the competition with a wildcard. In the battle of the two lefties, the 30-year-old Australian withstood 16 aces from his German opponent to seal a 7-6(3), 6-7(2), 7-6(5) victory after two hours and 25 minutes. The final set was a topsy-turvy drama. 23-year-old Haerteis was a break down at the score of 2-4 but gained the re-break. After leading 6-5 with a break, the Nuremberg native lost his service game and the following tie-break.
Smith, who clinched two career titles on the ATP Challenger Tour in 2012 and 2015, will next take on Czech No. 12 seed Lukas Rosol.
Van de Zandschulp survives
Botic van de Zandschulp, who captured his maiden title on the ATP Challenger Tour in Hamburg last week, cruised past wildcard entry Tobias Simon from Germany. The World No. 211 withstood 22 aces from his 28-year old rival, who set a world record with 52 aces in a best-of-three match in Ortisei last year. 24-year-old van de Zandschulp secured a 6-4, 6-7(6), 7-6(5) win after two hours of play.
The Dutch will oppose former Davis-Cup champion Viktor Troicki from Serbia, who enters the tournament on position 14.
“I felt really good on the court, but it is always tough to play against a guy like Tobias, who is serving so well. It is very difficult to break him on the carpet, but I am very happy to get the win in the end,” Van de Zandschulp stated after the match.
Machac acvances in the battle of the youngsters
In the first match on Court 1, Tomas Machac battled past 20-year-old Pavel Kotov from Russia. The 19-year-old Czech, who practices at the venue of t heTK Sparta Praha, won 74 per cent of his second-service points to prevail 6-3, 6-4 after 67 minutes. The No. 307 in ATP rankings will next take on No. 9 seeded Illya Ivashka from Belarus.
“I was solid on my serve and in the second set I had many chances with my returns, so I am happy that I gained the break at the score of 4-4,” Machac told Tennis TourTalk.
Asked about the surface, he added: “Playing on carpet is always tough, but this is the best carpet-surface I have ever played. I have already won a Futures tournament on this surface.”
Cressy stays solid
22-year-old Maxime Cressy from the United States, who finished runner-up to Lukas Lacko at the ATP Challenger event in Ismaning two weeks ago, rallied down teenager Niklas Guttau from Germany, who entered competition with a wild card.
The World No. 182 fired 15 aces and won 86 per cent of his first-service points to seal a 6-3, 7-5 victory in one hour and 22 minutes. The former college-player for UCLA in California will meet the tournament’s second favourite Henri Laaksonen from Switzerland in the next round.
“It is a big change between Hamburg and here because of the surface, so there was a big adjustment to make,” Cressy said. “But I stayed really focused and I got better and better. Im am very proud that I stayed very solid to get the win today. It is not easy for me to play against a leftie with chip and charge.”
Lenz beats Durasovic
Julian Lenz, ranked World No. 238, edged past Norwegian qualifier Viktor Durasovic. The 26-year-old German won 83 per cent of his first-service points and struck nine aces to claim a 7-6(6), 6-2 victory after 83 minutes.
Next up for the Giessen native, who played college tennis for Baylor University, will be Finnish No. 11 seed Emil Ruusuvuori.
More second round action
Steve Darcis, who will end his career after next year’s Australian Open, knocked off Italian No. 13 seed Federico Gaio. The 35-year-old Belgian capitalized on four of his five break-point opportunities without facing a break point, so seal a 6-2, 6-3 victory in 56 minutes.
The current World No. 181, who reached a career high at World No. 38, will next take on the winner of the battle between Polish top seed Kamil Majchrzak and Marc-Andrea Huesler from Switzerland.
After the match, the Eckental-champion of 2016 commented: “I played my first match on carpet for a long time, but I did a very good job today. As usual I tried to mix up my game with my slice and it worked out.
“It will be my last ATP Challenger event. I will play Davis Cup, ATP Cup and the Australian Open and then it is finished.”
Evgeny Karlovsky from Russia stunned German No. 5 seed Yannick Maden. The World No. 263 saved eight of the 10 break points he faced and converted four of his own break-point chances to claim a 6-4, 6-3 win after 75 minutes. The 25-year-old Moscow resident will compete against the winner of the encounter between Ruusuvuori and Lenz.
32-year-old Illya Marchenko emerged victorious from the clash of the Ukrainian veterans with No. 10 seeded Sergiy Stakhovsky. The No. 256 in the ATP rankings converted two of his three break-point chances against his 33-year-old rival by dropping one service game, to prevail 6-4, 7-6(3) after one hour and 34 minutes.
The Donetsk resident will next face Russian No. 6 seed Evgeny Donskoy or Zdenek Kolar from the Czech Rupublic.
In the final match of the day, the tournament’s No. 7 Jiri Vesely from the Czech Republic opened his title bid with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Tobias Kamke from Germany. The 26-year-old won 97 per cent of his first-service points to advance after one hour and 10 minutes.
The member of the Czech Davis-Cup team will oppose his countryman Machac or No. 9 seed Ivashka from Belarus.
“I had a good start into the match and played very aggressive. I put a lot of pressure on him, so he had to risk very much. I am happy about my very solid win,” Vesely said.