SPLIT, October 1, 2020
Professional tennis has returned to Split, Croatia for the first time since 1998, as the country’s second-largest city and the largest city in the Dalmatia region welcomes the inaugural Split Open. That year, it hosted a one-off indoor ATP Tour event, won by local hero Goran Ivanisevic.
This week the Tennis Club Firule, situated on the shore of the Adriatic Sea, hosts an ATP Challenger 80 clay-court tournament, which offers a total prize money of €44,820. It is the first Challenger in Croatia since 2011, when the 16-year run of the Zagreb Open came to an end.
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World No. 113 Pedro Sousa from Portugal leads the 32-man singles draw. The top seed advanced to the quarterfinals following a 6-1, 3-6, 6-2 win over Zdenek Kolar from the Czech Republic on Wednesday. Sousa will next take on Tomas Martin Etcheverry of Argentina, who eased past Serbian veteran Viktor Troicki 6-1, 6-1. The pair is joined in the top half of the draw by Italian Alessandro Giannessi, who will face 22-year-old Croatian wild card entry Borna Gojo in the stage of the final eight.
Kovalik leads bottom half of the draw
In the bottom half of the draw, Jozef Kovalik from Slovakia rallied from a set down to overcome Frederico Ferreira Silva from Portugal, winning 2-6, 6-2, 6-4 on Thursday. The No. 2 seed will play Split native Duje Ajdukovic in the next round. The 19-year-old wild card entry arrived in his hometown fresh off lifting his second ITF World Tennis Tour trophy of the season in Curtea de Arges, Romania. Ajdukovic beat Brazil’s Joao Menezes and No. 6 seed Martin Klizan from Slovakia on his way to the final eight. In the remaining quarterfinal match-up, Maximilian Marterer from Germany will oppose Francisco Cerundolo of Argentina.
The winner of the tournament will earn €6,190 in prize money as well as 80 ATP Ranking points. The singles final will be played on Sunday.