Gomez Starts Home Campaign In Salinas With Win

Emilio Gomez (photo: SalinasOpenEC/Armando Prado)


The ATP Challenger Tour is back in Ecuador for the prestigious Challenger de Salinas Copa Banco Guayaquil presentado por CNT, being held at the Salinas Golf & Tennis Club in Salinas, a coastal city located in the Province of Santa Elena.

Home favourite Emilio Gomez, top seed of the $53,120 hard-court tournament, opened his title bid on Monday with a solid 6-3, 6-3 first-round win over 19-year-old local wild card entry Alvaro Guillen Meza. Gomez sent down three aces and won 77 per cent of his first-service points to advance in one hour and 23 minutes.

“I think it was a good start, obviously not the one I really wanted. It was one of the few matches that I did not want to play,” said Gomez. “Alvaro was preparing very well with me throughout this week but we had the bad luck that we had to face each other and well, this is part of tennis. Everyone has to do their job and I did mine.”

The World No. 148 is seeking his third Challenger career title, his first since his triumph in Salinas last year.

“It was a very good match, at the beginning I was a bit nervous knowing that Alvaro was going to come out without any pressure. Then I grabbed the break in the first set and went up 4-1 in the second double break and I relaxed a bit. I am really satisfied because the first rounds are always difficult, especially after coming from very tough tournaments and returning to the Challengers is, without a doubt, a big change.”

Gomez will next take on Daniel Dutra da Silva, who emerged victorious from the all-Brazilian affair with wild card Pedro Boscardin Dias 6-3, 6-2.

In other action, No. 3 seed Camilo Ugo Carabelli outlasted fellow Argentine Facundo Juarez 6-2, 5-7, 6-3. The 22-year-old Buenos Aires native won 54 per cent of the total points played to prevail after two hours and 47 minutes. Ugo Carabelli will next face Akira Santillan of Australia, who rallied past Skander Mansouri of Tunisia 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 in one hour and 34 minutes.

Eighth favourite Nicolas Mejia also needed to go the distance in his 6-1, 2-6, 6-3 victory over Ecuadorian wild card player Cayetano March. The encounter lasted two hours and 13 minutes. Next up for Mejia will be either Yosuke Watanuki of Japan or Roberto Quiroz from Ecuador.