GRAN CANARIA, February 21, 2021
The ATP Challenger Tour has returned to the Canary Islands for the first time since 2008 with the Gran Canaria Challenger I. Qualifying action kicked off on a sunny but also windy Sunday at the El Cortijo Club de Campo in Telde, Gran Canaria’s second-largest city.
Nikolas Sanchez Izquierdo was first up on Centre Court, easing past fellow Spaniard and 16-year-old local wild card entry Tomas Quesada Perez 6-1, 6-1.
The World No. 356 from Barcelona was in total control of the encounter, winning 72 per cent of the total points played to prevail after only 50 minutes.
Sanchez Izquierdo will next take on No. 2 seed Alex Molcan from Slovakia, who beat Pol Martin Tiffon from Spain 6-1, 6-4 in 68 minutes.
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Top seed Michael Vrbesnky also booked his place in the second round of the qualifying of the €44,820 ATP Challenger Tour event. The World No. 303 from the Czech Republic defeated Ronald Slobodchikov of Russia 6-2, 6-3 in one hour and 21 minutes. Up next for Vrbensky will be Spanish wild card entry Alex Marti Pujolras. The 22-year-old outlasted No. 7 seed Filip Cristian Jianu of Romania 6-4, 7-6(4) in one hour and 42 minutes.
US-American teenager Emilio Nava caused the upset of the day by knocking out 19-year-old Italian and No. 5 seed Giuli Zeppieri 7-6(6), 6-4. Nava, who earned a wild card by winning a pre-tournament at the Tennis Academy El Cortijo during this week, sent down six aces and won 76 per cent of his first-service points to prevail after one hour and 31 minutes.
The 19-year-old from California, currently ranked World No. 672, will play No. 4 seeded Spaniard Oriol Roca Batalla for spot in the main draw.