ECKENTAL, October 30, 2019 (by Dietmar Kaspar)
Top seed Kamil Majchrzak opened his title bid at Challenger Eckental with a hard-fought win on Wednesday afternoon at the House of Sports. The World No. 90 from Poland overcame Marc-Andrea Huesler of Switzerland 7-5, 6-7(5), 6-3 to book his spot in the third round of the €46,600 ATP Challenger event.
Majchrzak withstood 14 aces and broke Huesler’s serve six times to prevail after two hours and eight minutes.
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“It was a difficult match. Marc-Andrea is a tall and really good player with a very good serve and volley. He tried to push me back, but I got better. In the second set I had a couple of chances to finish the match earlier, but at the end I am happy with my victory,” Majchrzak said.
“My goal is to finish this season inside the Top 100 and I am happy that I will compete for TC Großhesselohe in the German Bundesliga again next year.” Majchrzak will next take on 2016 champion Steve Darcis from Belgium.
Finland-born Henri Laaksonen, who has represented Switzerland since 2010, knocked off former UCLA college-player Maxime Cressy from the United States in a tough three-set battle. The No. 2 seed withstood 19 aces from his 22-year-old opponent and won 85 per cent of his first-service points to prevail 6-4, 5-7, 7-6(3) after two hours and nine minutes.
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“It is very fast here and he served very well. The match was so close that only a few points made the difference in the end,” Laaksonen said.
The World No. 105 will next face Botic van de Zandschulp. The 24-year-old Dutch edged past 2010 Davis-Cup champion Viktor Troicki from Serbia. The World No. 211 outpointed his 33-year-old rival 89-83 to secure a 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 victory in one hour and 40 minutes.
Van de Zandschulp, who clinched his maiden singles trophy on the ATP Challenger Tour in Hamburg last week, told Tennis TourTalk: “The service of both players was not that strong, but it was another tough match for me. I was a little bit slow in the beginning of the match, but managed to improve in the second and third set. So I am very happy about the win.”
Lukas Lacko, champion of the ATP Challenger event in Ismaning two weeks ago, edged out No. 8 seed Dennis Novak of Austria, winning 6-4, 4-6, 6-4. The 33-year-old Slovakian outpointed his opponent 89-82 in 94 minutes.
“It was better than in the first round. After the tournament in Ismaning I had some physical problems and I didn’t practice until the first match here,” Lacko said. “Without preparation I am very nervous on the court, so my goal is to improve every round. I was expecting a tough match against Dennis, because I lost the only match against him some years ago.”
The ATP No. 193, who already claimed 13 titles on the ATP Challenger Tour, will next oppose John-Patrick Smith. The 30-year-old Australian emerged victorious from the battle of the veterans with No. 12 seed Lukas Rosol from the Czech Republic. Smith, currently ranked World No. 304, didn’t face a break point and capitalized on three of his own seven break-point chances to prevail 6-4, 6-2 after 55 minutes.
No. 3 seed Lloyd Harris opened his Eckental campaign against Stefano Napolitano from Italy. The 22-year-old South African won 84 per cent of his first-service points and fired 18 aces during the 57 minutes lasting encounter to seal a 6-2, 6-4 win. The World No. 103 will next face German No. 15 seed Oscar Otte.
“I felt okay on the court and I am happy about the win,” Harris said. “I just tried to play serve and volley and stayed aggressive. For me it is fun to play on this surface, because everything moves so fast here and always anything can happen.”
Later in the evening, Peter Gojowczyk battled past Cem Ilkel from Turkey 6-4, 6-7(5), 7-5. The No. 4 seed from Germany, who is playing his first ATP Challenger event since Mallorca in August, won four points more than his opponent to advance after two hours and one minute. Up next for Gojowczyk will be Austria’s Sebastian Ofner.