BIEL/BIENNE/STARNBERG, March 22, 2022
This week, the ATP Challenger Tour is back in Switzerland with the second edition of the Flowbank Challenger Biel/Bienne. The €45,730 indoor hard-court tournament is being held at the Nationales Leistungszentrum Swiss Tennis inside the Jan Group Arena in Biel/Bienne, a town and a municipality with about 60,000 inhabitants situated in the canton of Bern. Biel/Bienne lies on the language boundary between the French-speaking and German-speaking parts of Switzerland, and is bilingual throughout.
Main draw first-round action got underway on Monday with Antoine Escoffier knocking out World No. 140 and second-seeded Austrian Dennis Novak 6-4, 6-2. The 30-year-old Frenchman struck five aces, saved the only break point he faced and converted three of his own eight break-point chances to prevail after one hour and six minutes.
Escoffier will next take on the winner of the match between Spanish lucky loser Adrian Menendez-Maceiras and Romanian veteran Marius Copil.
Kacper Zuk from Poland defeated Go Soeda of Japan 6-3, 6-2 and awaits either No. 5 seed Pavel Kotov from Russia or Briton Ryan Peniston in the second round.
In the top half of the draw, Filip Horansky remained untroubled during his 6-3, 6-3 victory over 19-year-old local wild card entry Jerome Kym. The World No. 199 from Slovakia will next face the winner of the all-Swiss encounter between No. 7 seed and last year’s runner-up Marc-Andrea Huesler and 16-year-old wild card player Kilian Feldbausch. Huesler lost the 2021 final to Liam Broady of Great Britain, who captured his maiden Challenger crown.
World No. 134 Pierre-Hugues Herbert of France, the tournament’s top seed, will open his title bid on Tuesday against Borna Gojo of Croatia. No. 3 seed and local hero Dominic Stricker will start his eagerly-awaited home campaign against Japanese Yuichi Sugita on Wednesday.
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