VALENCIA, October 28, 2015
Three Spaniards were in first round action on Wednesday at the Valencia Open, led by seventh seed Roberto Bautista-Agut, who defeated fellow Spaniard Nicolas Almagro 7-6, 4-6, 6-4. The world number 24 from Castellón, fired nine aces and won 73% of his first service points to advance after two hours and 10 minutes.
“It was not easy for me to play here today. I needed some time to get used to the conditions, the balls and the court, but I served well and was focused until the end of the match,” Bautista-Agut told about the keys to success. “I prefer playing in the Ágora building. It’s very loud on the court, just very special to play here,” he added.
Bautista-Agut will face Andrey Rublev next. The Russian teenager, celebrated his first main draw victory since the ATP Challenger in Moscow in June, winning against Marcel Granollers 6-4, 6-4 in one hour and 17 minutes.
“In matches with guys like Marcel, you need to be focused on every point. He puts the balls in, no matter how hard you hit. It was difficult at the beginning but I adapted to the conditions pretty fast and I felt comfortable in the end,” Rublev told Tennis TourTalk after ending a six matches losing streak in main draws. “Every victory is important. This is an ATP event, so I am really happy to win the first round,” the 18-year-old said.
Steve Johnson, who is coming off his first career ATP World Tour singles final in Vienna, celebrated a successful debut in Valencia, beating Martin Klizan 6-3, 6-4 in the pair’s first meeting. The 25-year-old US-American won 82% of his first service points and converted three of his six break point chances to prevail in one hour and 12 minutes facing second seed Feliciano López next.
The first two matches of the second round also took place when Pablo Cuevas knocked out the tournament’s third favourite Bernard Tomic, rallying back from a set down 3-6, 6-3, 6-4. The world number 37 from Uruguay, who took the title in Sao Paulo earlier this season, hit eight aces and saved four of the eight break points he faced to seal victory in one hour and 48 minutes.
“I didn’t start well but the first game of the second match was the turning point. I am thinking from match to match now and just want to stay as long as possible in the tournament,” Cuevas said.
Vasek Pospisil also advanced to the quarterfinals, gainning his first win over Aljaz Bedene in their second tour meeting. The 25-year-old Canadian saved the only break point he had to take on and converted two of his own to seal a 6-3, 6-4 victory in one hour and 32 minutes.
In the evening, David Ferrer officially pulled out of the tournament due to his ongoing problems with his elbow. “I have had problems in the right elbow again. I talked to my team and we’ve decided, that I will not play in Valencia, in order not to risk a serious relapse,” the world number 8 told. Ferrer will be substituted by lucky loser Albert Montanes to face Daniel Brands for the second round match.
David Serrahima, executive director of the Valencia Open told more about the tournament’s situation, which future is uncertain. “For today we have no news. We are still waiting for news from the Generalitat Valenciana. From the first moment we continue asking just for continue with agreement we have reached and they are still looking for the way to find a solution. But they have not found it. I insist that the only thing we ask is that what has been agreed. We are doing an exercise of absolute normality. We believe that we are doing it ok for more than thirteen years. Together we have created an incredible tournament and everyone has to contribute the part which is committed. What is missing? They need to call us, come, have the meeting that we are waiting for and sign the contract,”said Serrahima.
“As a result of the message we received (from the Director of sport of the Generalitat Valenciana, Josep Miquel Moya), we’ve had a phone conversation where we have shown them various articles of the law on public procurement that we know and that are completely legal tools to execute a contract of this type, as it is the case of the ‘Ayuntamiento’ and the ‘Diputación’ who have signed contracts with absolute normality and are public institutions and have the same legislation, so we don’t understand the problem. But unfortunately we don’t know anything more.”
The econcomic situation in Spain has changed and it is currently a difficult situtation for investments. “It is very hard to think in 2016 when not have given us solution to the 2014-2015. I think it is clear that tennis fans are with us, Sunday’s qualifying we hung the poster of ‘sold out’, something that very few tournaments may say it. Our prestige sponsors as a Rolex or Mapfre have been thirteen years sponsoring the tournament. We generate more than 60% of the budget in private sponsorship. If we look at the reality of the market, in Barcelona City Council is providing one million euros by the Godó and the Ayuntamiento de Madrid, several million by their Masters. This is a reality of the tennis market. Tournaments need to be projects of city, community, country. Not only sponsored run, they need to be a project much more global,” Serrahima pointed out.