ZADAR/STARNBERG, March 23, 2022
Duje Ajdukovic continued his good run of form on home soil this week by reaching the quarterfinals of the Falkensteiner Punta Skala – Zadar Open. The 21-year-old Croatian edged past Lorenzo Giustino 6-4, 7-6(1) in the second round of the €45,730 ATP Challenger clay-court tournament on Thursday.
Ajdukovic, who upset top-seeded Italian Gianluca Mager in the opening round, converted five of his six break-point opportunities to seal victory in one hour and 51 minutes.
“At some point, the wind became stronger, and I kept hitting pretty fast and started to make mistakes. I had a match ball at 5-4 (in the second set), I didn’t use it, but it turned out well,” said Ajdukovic.
The World No. 255 from Split, a winner of four titles on the ITF World Tennis Tour, will next take on Carlos Sanchez Jover. The 21-year-old Spaniard won the battle of the qualifiers over Cezar Cretu from Romania 6-4, 6-1 in one hour and 22 minutes.
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In the bottom half of the draw, Eduard Esteve Lobato of Spain fought past Italy’s Raul Brancaccio of Italy 6-3, 2-6, 6-2. The World No. 300 from Reus outpointed his rival 93-88 after two hours and 15 minutes. Esteve Lobato will next play No. 6 seed Flavio Cobolli. The 19-year-old Italian overcame a set deficit to outlast 16-year-old local wild card entry Dino Prizmic 2-6, 7-5, 6-2. The longest match of the day lasted two hours and 33 minutes
In other action, Manuel Guinard, who arrived in Zadar fresh from his maiden Challenger triumph in Roseto degli Abruzzi in Italy last Sunday, won his opening encounter 7-5, 6-2 over Giulio Zeppieri from Italy. The No. 8 seed from France won 55 per cent of the total points played to succeed after one hour and 23 minutes. Up next for Guinard will be Serbian qualifier Miljan Zekic.