KITZBÜHEL, July 28, 2021 (by Dietmar Kaspar)
The top four seeds of the Generali Open headlined Wednesday’s second-round action in Kitzbühel, Austria.
The tournament’s second favourite Roberto Bautista Agut was challenged by fellow Spaniard Pedro Martinez. In a thrilling three-set battle, which lasted more than three hours, 24-year-old Martinez from Valencia won six points more to triumph 6-4, 6-7(5), 7-5.
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) July 28, 2021
“It is so tough to play against Roberto, because he fights for every point so intensive and brings back every ball,” Martinez said. “I tried to vary my game and I am happy that I have won the match.”
Asked about his physical condition after his second marathon-match in the tournament he said:” Normally I should be a bit tired, but I feel really good and I am ready for tomorrow.”
The World No. 97 will oppose 28-year-old Jozef Kovalik from Slovakia in the quarterfinals.
Qualifier Kovalik continued his fantastic run. In his fourth match of the tournament versus left-handed Jiri Vesely from the Czech Republic, the World No. 131 sealed a 2-6, 6-2, 6-4-comeback win after about two hours with both players scoring 72 points.
Ruud stays successful
Later in the evening and after a rain delay for two hours, the tournament’s top seed Casper Ruud defeated Spanish lucky loser Mario Vilella Martinez 7-5, 5-7, 6-4. The 22-year-old Norwegian, who captured his third season title on the ATP Tour in Gstaad last week, capitalized on three of his seven break-point opportunities to seal victory in two hours and 19 minutes.
“It was obviously very tough. You can see it in the score,” Ruud said in his on-court interview. “I didn’t start too well and Mario played well in the beginning and heavy and [like] a typical Spanish clay-court player. He was playing good.
“He’s a very strong player, he can hit very strong balls, good serve. I just tried to neutralise the serve as good as I could. I wasn’t able to do it so well, but one break here and there can be enough and at the end of the day, I’m happy that it’s the end of the day and that I won the match.”
The son of former tennis professional Christian Ruud will next meet Mikael Ymer in an all-Scandinavian quarterfinal-clash.
The World No. 99 from Sweden edged out Alexander Erler, the last Austrian standing in the singles draw. Twenty-two-year-old Ymer broke the wild card entry’s serve four times and dropped one service game to advance 6-2, 6-3 in 80 minutes.
Smooth mover 🏌️ @CasperRuud98 enjoys some golf before his first round encounter in Kitzbühel.
— ATP Tour (@atptour) July 28, 2021
Krajinovic battles through
No. 3 seed Filip Krajinovic, who finished runner-up at the Hamburg European Open two weeks ago, opened Center Court action against Spanish lucky loser Carlos Taberner. In a three-set clash with both players gaining four breaks, the 29-year-old Serb won three points more to claim a 6-3, 2-6, 6-4 after about two hours.
“I played a lot of tough matches in the last weeks, especially in Hamburg, so I felt a little bit tired. My game today was really not perfect, but I am happy to advance to the quarters. I am glad to compete here in front of this fantastic crowd,” Krajinovic said after the match.
Next up for the World No. 33 will be Arthur Rinderknech. The 26-year-old Frenchman stopped the run of Danish tennis hope Holger Rune, who entered the tournament through the qualifying. Lasting two hours and 27 minutes, the World No. 91 fired 12 aces, won 84 per cent of his first-service points and saved one match point to prevail 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(4).
Mager fights past Ramos-Vinolas
On Court Kuchenmeister, Gianluca Mager from Italy faced the tournament’s No. 4 Albert Ramos-Vinolas. The World No. 74 made 15 points less than the Spanish veteran but secured a 7-6, 1-6, 7-5 victory after two hours and 23 minutes. The 26-year-old will next compete against Daniel Altmaier.
The 22-year-old German approved his good run of form, beating former French-Open semi-finalist Marco Cecchinato from Italy. Under the watchful eyes of his Argentinian coach Francisco Yunis, the No. 135 in the ATP Rankings converted four of his eight break-point chances to succeed 6-4, 6-4 in 96 minutes.
Quarterfinal action will get underway on Thursday. Play in Kitzbühel will start at 11:00 a.m. local time.