STARNBERG, November 16, 2020
Main draw action at the Sparkassen Challenger Val Gardena Südtirol got underway on Monday at the Tennis Club Ortisei. Frenchman Alexandre Muller knocked out World No. 102 Yasutaka Uchiyama of Japan, the top seed of the €44,820 ATP Challenger hard-court event, 6-3, 6-4. The 23-year-old from Aix-en-Provence didn’t face a break point and capitalized on two of his own break-point chances to prevail after 61 minutes.
Up next for Muller will be Briton Jay Clarke, who had to go the distance against South Tyrolean wild card entry Patric Prinot, winning 6-3, 6-7(9), 6-3 after almost two hours of play.
Competitors from Austria experienced a bad day at the office in Val Gardena. Sebastian Ofner, who exactly one year ago today finished runner-up to Jannik Sinner, lost to Illya Marchenko from the Ukraine 7-6(4), 6-1. The 33-year-old Donetsk resident broke Ofner’s serve two times to seal victory in one hour and five minutes. Marchenko will next take on Hugo Grenier. The 24-year-old Frenchman rallied past No. 7 seeded Austrian Jurij Rodionov, 5-7, 6-4, 6-3 in one hour and 56 minutes.
No. 6 seed Federico Gaio advanced to the second round following a 6-3, 6-4 win over fellow Italian Andrea Pellegrino after 64 minutes.
“I played pretty well, may not served excellently, but it’s never easy against a qualifier, who already played two matches here. We are at altitude and the balls fly pretty much, but I like to be here. I like the club, I like Ortisei.
I haven’t set myself any goals. I just look from match to match,” Gaio said.
The World No. 138 will next play Turkish qualifier Altug Celikbilek, who beat Zdenek Kolar from the Czech Republic 6-4, 6-2 in 60 minutes.
In other action, Russian qualifier Pavel Kotov upset big-serving US-American Maxime Cressy 7-6(5), 4-6, 6-3. The 21-year-old Moscow native withstood 19 aces to outpoint his opponent 101-94 in two hours and four minutes. Kotov awaits the winner of the all-French encounter between Arthur Rinderknech and No. 5 seed Antoine Hoang.