Kuhn Gets Back To Winning Ways At Szczecin Open

Nicola Kuhn (photo: Pekao Szczecin Open)

SZCZECIN/STARNBERG, September 17, 2021

The ATP Challenger Tour has returned to Poland this week for the 22nd edition of the Pekao Szczecin Open hosted by the Courts of MOSRiR Szczecin. Four unseeded players advanced to the semi-finals of the €132,280 clay-court tournament.

Qualifier Nicola Kuhn fought his way into the stage of the last four with wins in the top half of the draw over No. 1 seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas of Spain and US-American qualifier Alex Rybakov. On Friday, the 21-year-old Spaniard defeated Marco Trungelliti of Argentina 6-1, 7-5. Kuhn capitalized on six of his 11 break-point opportunities to seal victory in one hour and 21 minutes.

After a couple of first-round losses this season, Kuhn, a two-time champion on the ATP Challenger Tour (in Braunschweig 2017 and El Espinar in Segovia 2019), will play his first semi-final since the Koblenz Open in Germany in early February 2020 against Zdenek Kolar. The 24-year-old from the Czech Republic beat Dutch lucky loser Jesper de Jong 6-2, 6-3 in one hour and 18 minutes.

Hanfmann to face Majchrzak, Cias’ run ends

In the bottom half of the draw, Yannick Hanfmann from Germany edged out local wild card entry Pawel Cias 6-2, 7-5. The World No. 132, who knocked off No. 4 seed Marco Cecchinato of Italy in the second round, sent down three aces and won 70 per cent of his first-service points to prevail after one hour and 34 minutes.

“I made too many mistakes in the first set, but it is a pity for the second set when I was 4-1 up,” World No. 640 Cias said after the match.

“I believed too soon that this set would easily go into my direction and in tennis nothing is decided until the last ball. In theory, we should be playing the third set at this point, but in the meantime I’m attending a press conference and the match is over. This is what this sport is like.”

Hanfmann will next take on Kamil Majchrzak from Poland. The 25-year-old local hero fought past Danish teenager Holger Vitus Nodskov Rune 7-6(5), 6-1 in the final match of the day. With the support from an enthusiastic crowd on Center Court, Majchrzak won 55 per cent of the total points played to advance after exactly two hours of play.

I’m happy to be in the semi-finals, which is further than I got seven years ago. I hope that won’t be the end of the road. I’m playing well, I have the support of the crowd and I hope to keep coming out on top,” said Majchrzak.

“It was a different match. We played much better than at Tulln, as that one was our first match since the US Open, first on clay after playing on hard. Here, I think the first set was of very high-quality. With such intensity the one who won the first set was always going to have a big advantage.

“I’m trying to play every point the same, my serve gets me out of a lot break points right now and I think that’s been the key. I’m very happy to be able to rely on it.

“Holger is a fantastic tennis player and I’m sure we’re going to watch him on the biggest stages. The question ‘when’ is just about when he grows up. If he does it quickly, then it’s going to be in the near future.”