Karatsev Continues Fine Form At Ostrava Open

Aslan Karatsev

OSTRAVA, September 3, 2020

Aslan Karatsev remains the man to beat on the ATP Challenger Tour. After finishing runner-up to Stan Wawrinka at the I.CLTK Prague Open 2020 by Moneta and winning the title of the RPM Prague Open by Moneta, the 26-year-old Russian has advanced to his third consecutive quarterfinal since the re-start of the circuit.

Karatsev defeated Ernests Gulbis of Latvia, No. 4 seed of the €132,280 Ostrava Open by Moneta, 6-1, 6-4 on a sunny Thursday afternoon at the SC Ostrava.

The World No. 140 was rock-solid on his serve, hit six aces and won 95 per cent of his first-service points to secure victory in one hour and six minutes. “Ernests is a very experienced player, so everything can change very quickly. So, the main target was to stay focused all the time,” Karatsev told Tennis TourTalk after the match on Center Court. About his latest success, he added:

“It was great but also a tough situation after the break. I just wanted to play match by match. I am very happy to have reached the final in the first week and to win the title in the second.”

Competing in his third week on the clay-court swing in the Czech Republic, the Moscow native has become used to the new normality on the tour. “There is nothing you can do about. It’s tough but there are the same conditions for everyone. At least we can play and I am happy to be back on the court.”

During the suspension of the international circuits, Karatsev spent some time in the United States competing in the East Coast UTR Pro Match Series at the Saddlebrook Resort in Tampa, Florida.

“Two months ago I arrived at the US and I thought that I could play some exhibition matches to get some practice before the start. Conditions were perfect,” said Karatev, who has his training base in Belarus. “I have been practicing in Minsk for almost two years now. I have a head coach and Luis my fitness coach from Portugal. I like playing in Minsk, except in the situation that is coming now, but it is a really nice city.”

Karatsev will next take on German qualifier Mats Moraing, who benefited from the retirement of No. 8 seed Sergiy Stakhovsky from the Ukraine, leading 6-1, 6-7(4), 4-0. Stakhovsky suffered from a leg injury.

Top seed Laaksonen falls

Also in the top half of the draw, Botic van de Zandschulp knocked out the tournament’s top seed Henri Laaksonen from Switzerland. The 24-year-old from the Netherlands broke his opponent’s serve five times to prevail 6-3, 6-2 in one hour and 17 minutes. Van de Zandschulp will play Lukas Lacko of Slovakia in the stage of the final eight.

Ilya Ivashka remains the last seeded player left in the singles draw. The second favourite beat Viktor Troicki of Serbia 6-3, 7-5. Ivashka outpointed the veteran 73-61 to advance after one hour and 36 minutes. The World No. 139 from Belarus will next be challenged by Tallon Griekspoor. The 24-year-old Dutch rallied past No. 7 seed Steven Diez of Canada 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 after two hours and seven minutes.

Oscar Otte of Germany and Czech qualifier Zdenek Kolar round out the quarterfinals line-up. Otte eased past Lukas Rosol from the Czech Republic 6-2, 6-0 in only 53 minutes. Kolar had to go the distance against Dmitry Popko from Kazakhstan, winning 5-7, 6-4, 7-5. The longest encounter of the day lasted three hours and three minutes.