AMBATO/STARNBERG, September 22, 2021
Juan Pablo Varillas opened his title bid at the Ambato La Gran Ciudad, with a hard-fought first-round win on Tuesday. The top seed of the $52,080 ATP Challenger clay-court tournament, being held in 2,500 metres altitude at the Club Tungurahua in Ambato, Ecudaor battled past local favourite Roberto Quiroz 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(6).
In a rain-interrupted match, Varillas struck seven aces and won 85 per cent of his first-service points to seal victory in two hours and five minutes.
“It was a very tough match, I think we both played for most of the time very well,” Varillas said. “I could find the return at the end of the third set, which I am not very happy about and in the tie-break. I tried to hold all the balls in play and make him play. I was 5-0 up and I had the chance there to get 6-0, but the it became complicated. That’s how high-altitude tennis is, it’s a bit volatile and anything can happen. You have to be aware of everything all the time.”
The World No. 121 from Lima, who contributed two match wins to Peru’s Davis Cup World Group I 3-2 victory over Bosnia and Herzegovina last weekend, will next take on Genaro Alberto Olivieri of Argentina, who defeated Nick Hardt from the Dominican Republic 6-2, 7-6(6) in one hour and 26 minutes.
Zukas upsets Olio, Gomez falls
Argentine qualifier Matias Zukas caused the upset of the day by knocking out his compatriot and No. 5 seed Renzo Olivo 6-4, 5-7, 6-4. The World No. 522 withstood 10 aces and broke his rival two times to prevail after two hours and 22 minutes. Up next for Zukas will be Nerman Fatic from Bosnia and Herzegovina, who beat Spanish veteran Adrian Menendez-Maceiras 6-2, 7-5 in one hour and 36 minutes.
In other action, Julian Lenz edged past No. 4 seed No. 4 seed Emilio Gomez from Ecuador 6-4, 7-6(6). The 28-year-old German won 53 per cent of the total points played and awaits the winner of the encounter between Austria’s Gerald Melzer and US-American qualifier Patrick Kypson in the second round.
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Ambato Challenger Tuesday Results:
Alejandro Gómez COL def Cayetano March ECU 6-3, 6-4
Matías Zukas ARG def Renzo Olivo 6-4, 5-7, 6-4
Pedro Sakamoto BRA def Alejandro González COL 6-3, 6-4
Juan Pablo Varillas PER def Roberto Quiroz ECU 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(6)
Johan Nikles SUI def Pol Martin Tiffon ESP 7-5, 7-6(7)
Nerman Fatic BIH def Adrián Menéndez-Maceiras ESP 6-2, 7-5
Julian Lenz ALE def Emilio Gómez ECU 6-4, 7-6(6)
Genaro Olivieri ARG def Nick Hardt DOM 6-2, 7-6(6)
Thiago Tirante ARG vs Cristian Rodríguez COL 7-6(4), 4-6
Patrick Kypson USA vs Gerald Melzer AUT 7-6(7)