Experience Prevails Over Youth: Lopez Beats Kuhn In Mallorca

Feliciano Lopez (photo: Brigitte Urban)


Spanish veteran Feliciano Lopez defeated 21-year-old qualifier Nicola Kuhn in two sets in Monday’s first-round match between the oldest and the youngest player in the main draw of the Mallorca Championships.

The 39-year-old Toledo native sent down 11 aces on Centre Court of the Mallorca Country Club in Santa Ponca, Calvia, and broke his compatriot’s serve three times to seal a 6-1, 7-6(4) victory in one hour and 18 minutes.

“I had a good start into the match, got an early lead with two breaks. The first set was very quick and easy,” Lopez said during his post-match on-court interview.

“Sometimes it’s difficult when you lose the focus after an easy set. I was just trying to keep playing the same way and also had an early break in the second set but my serve wasn’t working the same way. He became more confident, especially on his backhand. He was hitting a couple of good passing shots. Then the match went into the tie-break and then it was 50-50. I was lucky to serve good enough to puts some pressure and finally  win the match.”

Lopez will next take on Karen Khachanov. The No. 6 seed from Russia fought past French qualifier Lucas Pouille 7-6(7), 3-6, 6-4 in two hours and 14 minutes.

“These Mallorca Championships are very tough. You face strong opponents from the very beginning. The best players came to Mallorca, as it is so nice here and a great lead-up into Wimbledon. I have to beat Karen to be in the quarterfinals,” Lopez said of his upcoming task, in which he is aiming to record his 500th career win.

Ruud successful on grass

Earlier in the day, Casper Ruud secured his first-ever grass-court match win. The No. 5 seed from Norway defeated Frenchman Gilles Simon 6-4, 7-6(4). Ruud, who often practices at the Rafa Nadal Academy in Manacor, situated only an one-hour drive away from Santa Ponca, prevailed after one hour and 40 minutes.

“First time I won on grass. I am very happy of course. I love coming to Mallorca. It is a beautiful place. I’m glad they have a tournament now here. The goal is to get some matches here to prepare for Wimbledon. I’m not gonna cry if I’m not in the Top 10 after the grass season because I think my chances are slimmer on the grass than on clay or hard courts,” said Ruud. He will try to continue his fine run of form against US-American Tennys Sandgren, who edged out Mallorca native Jaume Munar 7-6(3), 7-5 in two hours and one minute. 

Klein upsets Lajovic

On Court 1, Lukas Klein caused the upset of the day. The 23-year-old qualifier from Slovakia knocked out No. 6 seed Dusan Lajovic from Serbia 6-4, 7-6(2) after one hour and 36 minutes.

Klein, who captured six title on the ITF Pro Circuit, won his second match at tour-level after beating Andrej Martin in Buenos Aires in early March. The World No. 256 will next challenge Australia’s Jordan Thompson.

In other action, Corentin Moutet of France eased past Lloyd Harris from South Africa 6-4, 6-2 in one hour and 27 minutes to set a second-round clash with top seed Daniil Medvedev of Russia.

Jiri Vesely from the Czech Republic beat Italian Salvatore Caruso 7-6(2), 6-2 and will be the first opponent of No. 4 seeded Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta. Stefano Travaglia from Italy battled past Guido Pella from Argentina 7-5, 7-6(4) and will next play No. 3 seed Roberto Bautista Agut from Spain.