Swiss Teens Prevail, As Challenger Citta Di Lugano Kicks Off

Challenger Citta di Lugano (photo: Challenger Citta di Lugano/Facebook)

STARNBERG, March 22, 2021

The ATP Challenger Tour has returned to Switzerland for the first time since 2014, when Geneva welcomed players and fans. This week the scenic city of Lugano hosts the Challenger Citta di Lugano held on the indoor hard courts of the Padiglione Conza. The €44,820 tournament is run by Riccardo Margaroli, father of Swiss player Luca Margaroli.

Both local players, who were in action on Monday, opened their home campaign with a first-round win. Wild card entry Dominic Stephan Stricker secured a comfortable 6-4, 6-4 victory over Briton Jay Clarke in his only second appearance at Challenger level. The 18-year-old lefty from Münsingen saved all four break points he faced and capitalized on two of his own four break-point chances to advance after one hour and six minutes.

Next up for World No. 874 Stricker, winner of the 2020 Junior Roland Garros Championships in singles as well as in doubles, will be either No. 3 seed Peter Gojowcyzk from Germany or Dutch qualifier Tim van Rijthoven.

“2020 was an incredible season,” said Stricker, who was named Swiss Sports Talent of the Year and was invited as a hitting partner to the Nitto ATP Finals in London. “Of course, there is now some kind of pressure, but a positive one and I will try to capitalize on it.”

Riedi overcomes Menendez-Maceiras

Challenger debutant Leandro Riedi, 2018 Australian Open Juniors doubles champion, fought past Spanish veteran Adrian Menendez-Maceiras 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-3. The 19-year-old from Frauenfeld fired 12 aces and won 69 per cent of his first-service points to prevail after two hours and 34 minutes.

Riedi set a second-round clash with the tournament’s top seed Yuichi Sugita. The World No. 109 from Japan edged past Julian Lenz from Germany 6-2, 7-5 in one hour and 30 minutes.

“I haven’t seen so much of the city yet, but the club here is very nice and courts are great. Everything is cool and I am in good shape,” Riedi said ahead of the start of the tournament.

In the bottom half of the draw, Altug Celikbilek knocked out No. 2 seed Evgeny Donskoy of Russia, 4-6, 6-2, 6-1. The 24-year-old alternate from Turkey outpointed his rival 80-60 after one hour and 31 minutes and will next face either Lucas Miedler from Austria or Slovakian Lukas Lacko.

Bernard Tomic emerged victorious from the all-Australian affair with Aleksandar Vukic, winning 6-4, 6-3 in 69 minutes to meet Hugo Grenier in the next round. The Frenchman beat eighth seed Roberto Marcora of Italy 6-4, 7-6(3). The encounter lasted two hours.