VILLENA/STARNBERG, October 12, 2021
Two Spanish left-handers and veterans on the tennis circuit headline the field at this week’s fourth edition of the Alicante Ferrero Challenger hosted by the JC Ferrero Equelite Sport Academy in Villena, Alicante in Spain. World No. 108 and top seed of the €44,820 ATP Challenger hard-court event, Feliciano Lopez, opened his title bid with a solid 6-3, 6-1 victory over Roberto Marcora from Italy on Tuesday afternoon.
The 40-year-old Toledo native, who was awarded a wild card into the main draw, didn’t face a break point and converted four of his own nine break-point chances to prevail after only 54 minutes.
Former World No. 12 Lopez, a winner of seven ATP Tour and two ATP Challenger Tour titles, is seeking his first trophy since Queen’s since June 2019. The tournament director of the Mutua Madrid Open will next take on Frenchman Hugo Grenier.
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The bottom half of the draw is led by second seed Fernando Verdasco. The World No. 137 from Madrid began his home campaign with a 6-4, 6-3 win over fellow Spaniard Nicola Kuhn on Monday. Verdasco sent down nine aces and won 79 per cent of his first-service points to book his spot in the second round after one hour and 34 minutes.
The former World No. 7, champion of seven ATP Tour titles and one ATP Challenger Tour crown, is bidding for his first trophy since 2016. Verdasco returned to Challenger level in June in Lyon, France for the first time in nine years and is competing in his fifth Challenger event of the season. He will next face Constant Lestienne of France, who defeated Borna Gojo of Croatia 6-4, 7-5.
In other action, No. 3 seed Oscar Otte of Germany advanced with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Adrian Menendez Maceiras from Spain and will next face Italian Thomas Fabbiano, who fought past Ramkumar Ramanathan of India 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.
German alternate Mischa Zverev won his first match since May, beating Ukrainian alternate Vladyslav Orlov 6-2, 6-1. The 34-year-old will next oppose Frederico Ferriera Silva from Portugal, who knocked out No. 4 seed Quentin Halys of France 6-7(3), 7-6(4), 7-6(6) in a battle lasting more than three hours.