Gran Canaria Challenger: Mixed Emotions For Seeded Players

Gran Canaria Challenger

GRAN CANARIA, February 23, 2021

Carlos Taberner of Spain and Serbia’s Nikola Milojevic headlined Tuesday’s first-round action at the Gran Canaria Challenger in Telde, however, with different outcomes. First, No. 2 seed Taberner was forced to retire in his match against Frenchman Enzo Couacaud, leading 6-7(3), 6-0, 3-2 due to a right ankle injury.

The 25-year-old Paris resident, who captured his first ATP Challenger title on home soil in Cassis 2018, will next take on former World No. 5 Tommy Robredo. The 38-year-old Spaniard defeated Croatia’s Nino Serdarusic in his opening match on Monday.

“My adventure here could not have started in a better way,” said Robredo, who enjoyed playing a round of golf at the nearby El Cortijo Club de Campo. “I am happy to be able to participate in an event of this level in my country, after what we all faced in 2020.”


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Later on Centre Court, No. 4 seed Milojevic had to go the distance to fight past Spanish wild card entry Javier Barranco Cosano 4-6, 6-4, 6-3. The 25-year-old from Belgrade sent down five aces and won 82 per cent of his first-service points to secure victory in two hours and four minutes.

Up next for Milojevic, who is seeking his third Challenger trophy, will be Constant Lestienne. The Frenchman beat Adrian Menendez Maceiras from Spain 6-1, 6-4.

Spaniard Roberto Ortega-Olmedo rallied from a set down to knock out No. 8 seed Lorenzo Giustino of Italy 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 in two hours and four minutes to set a second round meeting with Italian Andrea Pellegrino, who beat Spanish veteran Guillermo Garcia Lopez 6-4, 6-3 in one hour and 23 minutes.

Giannessi eases into second round

In the top half of the draw, Alessandro Giannessi emerged victorious from an all-Italian affair with Stefano Napolitano, 6-0, 6-2. The No. 7 seed saved the only break point he faced and converted four of five of his own break-point chances to advance in 61 minutes.

“I felt good today. I did a god job. I played solid. I served well and was focused the entire match. Right now I am a better player on clay than on hard court,” said Giannessi, who arrived at Gran Canaria with his girl-friend Francesca and his newborn son Lorenzo “It is a nice place here. I am very happy that my son is here, attending a tournament for the first time.”

The World No. 163 will next take on Canadian Steven Diez, who ended the good run of US-American qualifier Elias Nava with a hard-fought 7-6(4), 6-7(4), 6-2 win after almost three hours of play.

Earlier in the day, Slovakian qualifier Alex Molcan cruised past teenager Mark Owen Endler 6-0, 6-1 in 43 minutes. The 18-year-old, representing Germany, was born on Gran Canaria’s neighbouring island Tenerife and was granted a wild card into the €44,820 clay-court event. It was his debut in the main draw on the ATP Tour.

Molcan awaits the winner of the match between top seed Lorenzo Musetti of Italy and Spanish qualifier Alex Marti Pujolras. The pair will open Gran Canaria Challenger Centre Court action at the El Cortijo Tennis Academy on Wednesday morning.


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