Stricker Stuns Hurkacz At MercedesCup

Dominic Stricker (photo: MercedesCup/Daniel Kopatsch)


Swiss teenager Dominic Stephan Stricker continued his great run of form by reaching the quarterfinals of the MercedesCup in Stuttgart. The 18-year-old wild card entry knocked out Hubert Hurkacz of Poland, No. 2 seed of the ATP 250 grass-court event, 7-6(5), 7-6(5), on Thursday afternoon.

One day after winning two tie-breaks to defeat Moldavian qualifier Radu Albot, Stricker withstood 11 aces and won three points more than Hurkacz to secure victory in one hour and 47 minutes.

“I still can’t believe what happened. I won’t really realize it until tonight or even after the tournament. Now I’ll see what’s going to happen here,” said Stricker, who seemed to stay calm in the decisive moments.

“I think I’m not that calm at all. It may look like this from the outside, but there is a lot going on inside me. A lot of thoughts went through my head at match point. It helped a lot that the first serve came and was an ace.”

The World No. 335, who also reached the stage of the last eight on his ATP Tour main draw debut three weeks ago in Geneva, will next take on US-American Sam Querrey. The 33-year-old ousted Australian qualifier James Duckworth 6-4, 7-6(7) in one hour and 23 minutes.

Auger-Aliassime returns to the grass

Felix Auger-Aliassime opened his title bid with a 6-3, 7-6(4) win over South African Lloyd Harris. The No. 3 seed from Canada saved nine of the 10 break points he faced and converted two of his own five break-point chances to prevail after one hour and 42 minutes.

Asked about his favourite thing, playing on grass, Auger-Aliassime responded: “It suits my game I think. I was successful on it two years ago and in the future, I feel I will be able to play well on this surface. It is a surface that when you are aggressive and move forward and have a good serve like I do you can come into the net. Usually, you have good chances of playing well so overall I like the game on the grass. You can also use variety and mix up the spins which is an advantage on grass, so overall it makes for interesting matches and match-ups.”

The 20-year-old Montreal native will next face No. 6 seeded Frenchman Hugo Humbert, who beat German wild card entry Yannick Hanfmann 7-6(9), 6-2 in one hour and 41 minutes.

Top seed to continue his match tomorrow

In other action, No. 4 seed Alex de Minaur emerged victorious from an all-Aussie battle with Jordan Thompson, rallying to win 6-7(8), 6-3, 6-4 after two hours and 38 minutes. De Minaur will next play Jurij Rodionov, who benefited from the retirement of German qualifier Peter Gojowczyk. The Austrian wild card entry was leading 5-3 in the opening set when Gojowczyk was forced to stop playing due to an abdominal muscle injury.

Marin Cilic of Croatia beat No. 5 seed Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia 6-3, 6-2 and awaits either top seed Denis Shapovalov of Canada or Spanish veteran Feliciano Lopez in the quarterfinals. Their match was suspended due to rain at the score of 6-2, 6-7(2).