Stricker Secures Quarterfinal Spot In Lugano

Dominic Stricker (photo: Swiss Tennis/Facebook)

LUGANO/STARNBERG, March 24, 2021

Swiss teenager Dominic Stephan Stricker has booked a spot in a quarterfinal of an ATP Challenger Tour event for the first time in his young career. The 18-year-old wild card entry rallied past Dutch qualifier Tim van Rijthoven 5-7, 6-4, 7-6(7) in the second round of the €44,820 Challenger Citta di Lugano held on the indoor hard courts of the Padiglione Conza.

In a very close affair on Wednesday afternoon, Stricker, titlist of the 2020 Junior Roland Garros Championships in singles as well as in doubles, struck 13 aces, saved two match points and won six points more than his opponent to finish the encounter with a fantastic effort after two hours and seven minutes.

Stricker will either face last week’s Biella Indoor Challenger champion Daniel Masur of Germany or Hiroki Moriya of Japan. Masur beat Illya Marchenko 7-6(1), 7-5 to celebrate his second win over the Ukrainian within the last 14 days after almost two hours of play. Both players took the same car to drive from northern Italy to southern Switzerland on Sunday evening after the German had lifted his maiden Challenger trophy.

“It’s important to enjoy and celebrate every victory, even if it’s going pretty well. Because on this level every win is hardly earned and comes with sacrifice. So it was today and I hope I can push further tomorrow,” Masur posted on Facebook after his overall third win over Marchenko in as many meetings between the two.

Horiya edged past Biella runner-up Matthias Bachinger from Germany 1-6, 6-3, 7-5 after two hours and eight minutes.

Sugita outlasts teenager Riedi

Later in the evening, top seed Yuichi Sugita from Japan battled past local wild card entry Leandro Riedi, who had celebrated his maiden Challenger match win in the opening round against Adrian Mendendez Maceiras of Spain.

The World No. 109 saved seven of the eight break points he faced and capitalized on two of his own eight break-point chances to secure a hard-fought 7-6(6), 6-7(1), 6-4 victory in two hours and 43 minutes.

“I feel good. It’s my first time here,” Sugita said and seems to feel comfortable in Lugano. “I enjoy walking to the lake. Everything’s looking good. Nice city.” 

Sugita will next take on Evgeny Karlovskiy of Russia, who defeated Australian Akira Santillan 6-4, 6-3 in one hour and 12 minutes.