OPATIJA, March 22, 2016
This week the Istrian clay court swing concludes with the $10,000 ITF Future Istarska Rivijera in Opatija, the fourth stop on the Croatian peninsula.
Due to a washout on Monday, most of the first round matches were played on Tuesday with the tournament’s top-seed Riccardo Bellotti, starting his title bid with a 6-1, 6-7, 6-4 win over Ljubomir Celebic. The world number 273 from Italy, who lost in the opening round in Porec and reached the second round in Pula, wants to go deeper this week and capitalized on eigtht of his 13 break point chances to prevail in two hours and 18 minutes. However, he will face with last week’s champion from Pula, Pedro Martínez Portero, another strong opponent next. The 18-year-old Spaniard defeated Czech qualifier Pavel Nejedly 6-0, 7-6, winning 69% of his first service points to advance after one hour and 55 minutes.
Second seed Kamil Majchrzak returns to the outdoor courts, after losing in the first round of the ATP Challenger in Wroclaw last month. The 20-year-old from Poland adapted well to the conditions, beating Pascal Meis from Germany in a three hours and six minutes battle 5-7. Majchrzak will play Swiss qualifier Antoine-Michel Alexeev next.
Zdenek Kolar, who captured his maiden title on the Pro Circuit in Porec and finished runner-up in Pula last Sunday, returns to the winning ways, knocking out the tournament’s number three Peter Torebko 6-4, 6-4. The 19-year-old Czech won 68 of the total 124 points to seal victory in one hour and 26 minutes. Kolar will play Croatian wild card Nino Serdarusic in the second round. The teenager overcame Pawel Cias from Poland 7-5, 1-6, 7-5 in two hours and 29 minutes.
On Monday, it was Kid’s Day in Opatija. Children of different ages went to the courts and also had the chance to meet Niki Pilic. The 74-year-old Croat, who is a former world number six and became the first captain to win the Davis Cup trophy with three different nations (Germany in 1988, 1989, 1993; Croatia in 2010 and Serbia in 2010), ran a tennis academy near his home town Munich and is currently working with the German squad again. He is also involved in the Organizing Committee of the ITF event in Opatija.