HELSINKI/STARNBERG, November 16, 2021
Henri Laaksonen started his title bid at the HPP Open with a straight-set win. The No. 2 seed of the €44,820 ATP Challenger Tour hard-court tournament, being held at the Tali Tennis Center in Helsinki, Finland, defeated Denis Istomin from Uzbekistan 6-3, 6-3 on Tuesday.
Laaksonen sent down eight aces and won 88 per cent of his first-service points to secure victory in one hour and nine minutes. The 29-year-old was born in Finland but moved to Switzerland to practice at the Swiss Tennis National Tennis Center in Bienne in 2009. Before January 2011, Laaksonen represented his country of birth. Since then, the World No. 97 has represented Switzerland.
In Helsinki, Laaksonen is seeking his seventh ATP Challenger career crown, his second of the season following his triumph in Orleans in early October. He will next take on German alternate Julian Lenz, who knocked off British wild card entry Jack Draper 7-5, 6-1 in one hour and 17 minutes.
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In other action, No. 8 seed Nikola Milojevic eased past Flavio Cobolli of Italy 6-3, 6-2 in one hour and five minutes. The World No. 136 from Serbia awaits the winner of the encounter between Ramkumar Ramanathan of Indian and local wild card Otto Virtanen in the second round.
Belgian qualifier Joris de Loore knocked off German veteran Tobias Kamke 6-3, 6-4 and will next play either No. 6 seed Liam Broady of Great Britain and Hungarian Zsombor Piros, who advanced to his first Challenger final at the Slovak Open in Bratislava last Sunday.
In the top half of the draw, Mats Moraing beat seventh-seeded Slovakian Jozef Kovalik 6-3, 6-4 and will next meet fellow German Maximilian Marterer.