STARNBERG, November 29, 2020
Four players have completed the main draw of the 2020 Maia Open, the final ATP Challenger tournament of the season held on European soil. The €44,080 indoor clay-court event is hosted by the Complexo Municipal de Tenis da Maia in Portugal.
Croatian teenager Duje Ajdukovic, a two-time champion on the ITF World Tennis Tour this year in Curtea de Arges, Romania, and Antalya, Turkey, rallied from a set down to overcome Nikolas Sanchez Izquierdo of Spain, 3-6, 7-6(5), 7-5 on Sunday. The 19-year-old Split native, who advanced to his first Challenger semi-final at his home tournament in early October, struck six aces and won 71 per cent of his first-service points to prevail after two hours and 34 minutes. Ajdukovic will face No. 7 seed Lorenzo Giustino of Italy in the first round of the main draw.
Michael Vrbensky from the Czech Republic defeated local wild card entry Luis Faria 6-4, 6-4 in one hour and 55 minutes to face Italian veteran and No. 6 seed Paolo Lorenzi in his opening match. World No. 797 Faria was vying for his first main draw appearance at Challenger level.
“It was a very close and even match,” Faria said, quoted by Raquetc.com. “He was more consistent and the better player in the decisive moments. I think that made the difference in the end.”
In other action, Altug Celikbilek from Turkey edged past Nino Serdarusic of Croatia 7-5, 6-3 in one hour and 36 minutes. The 24-year-old Istanbul resident will play Portuguese wild card Goncalo Oliveira in the first round. Frenchman Maxime Hamou benefited from the retirement of Italian Riccardo Bonadio, leading 3-1 in the opening set, to set a first-round clash with No. 2 seed Pedro Sousa from Portugal.
The last two editions of the Maia Open Challenger were won by Jarkko Nieminen (2001) and Victor Hanescu (2002). A 17-year hiatus followed before the ATP Challenger Tour returned to the city, with a tournament organized by the Portuguese Tennis Federation and the City.
— Gaspar Ribeiro Lança (@gasparlanca) November 29, 2020
Main draw kicks off Monday
The Maia Open field is led by World No. 85 Pedro Martinez from Spain. The 23-year-old will open his title bid against Andrea Arnaboldi from Italy. Defending champion Jozef Kovalik is the tournament’s No. 3 seed.
The World No. 131 from Slovakia defeated Constant Lestienne of France in last year’s singles final. Kovalik will start against Julian Lenz from Germany. Henri Laaksonen rounds out the Top 4 seeds. The 28-year-old from Switzerland will open Centre-Court action on Monday against Zdenek Kolar from the Czech Republic.