MAUTHAUSEN, May 3, 2022 (by Dietmar Kaspar)
The remaining first-round matches of the singles main draw were held on Tuesday at the DANUBE Upper Austria Open. The top two seeds also started their title bid at the ATP-Challenger 100 clay-court event hosted by the Danubis Tennis Centre.
John Millman, the tournament’s top favourite from Australia, was challenged by Spanish qualifier Nikolas Sanchez Izquierdo. In a match with long rallies, the current No. 85 of the World broke his opponent twice and earned 11 points more to seal a 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 win after two hours and 36 minutes.
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“It was a tough and intensive match because Nikolas played really good,” Millman said during his post match on-court interview. “I have to be focused on every match, step by step, to go deep into the tournament. I want to go to Roland Garros best prepared, because last year I had to withdraw 10 minutes before my match was scheduled.”
The 32-year-old will next take on Frenchman Enzo Couacaud, who battled past Cedrik-Marcel Stebe from Germany in straight sets.
No. 2 seed Jiri Lehecka had to work hard to advance to the next round. The 20-year-old Czech lost the first set in the tie-break against Timofey Skatov from Kazakhstan, but the Mlada Boleslav native fought back to triumph 6-7, 6-3, 6-4. The World Nr. 88 will next meet Austrian wild card entry Filip Misolic.
Three Austrian players advance
In the match of the day, No. 8 seed Dennis Novak of Austria faced Daniel Masur from Germany. The Wiener Neustadt native converted all of his four break-point chances and dropped one service game to get the win after 70 minutes with 6-3, 6-4.
“I think it was a good match from my side. I was completely focused, with the exception of the game when I served for the match with two easy mistakes. It was fun for me to compete in front of my family and such a lot of spectators,” Novak told the press. Next up for the World No. 148 will be his compatriot Gerald Melzer.
Wild card entry Melzer eased past Borna Gojo from Croatia. The 31-year-old from Vienna won 83 per cent of his first-service points and earned the only three breaks of the match to advance 6-4, 6-3 in 81 minutes.
Earlier in the day, Austrian qualifier Lucas Miedler opened Centre-Court action versus No. 9 seed Egor Gerasimov of Belarus. The 25-year-old capitalized on four of his 15 break-point opportunities and lost two service-games to claim a 7-5, 6-4 win in about two hours. The World No. 310 will oppose Nino Serdarusic from Croatia, who eased past qualifier Nerman Fatic from Bosnia and Herzegovina in straight sets.
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“Egor had the better start into the match with an early break. But I kept on fighting and it was very important for me to win the first set, because I had a lot of matches in the last days. In the second set I made the big points, so I am very happy to succeed in straight sets”, Tulln-born Miedler told Tennis TourTalk after the match.
In the match between two teammates from the Günter Bresnik Academy, local wild card Lukas Neumayer took on qualifier Alexander Shevchenko from Russia. After a slow start, 21-year-old Shevchenko turned the match to seal victory with 2-6, 6-3, 6-0. The World No. 248 will next meet Moldavian No. 5 seed Radu Albot.
Other seeded players succeed
Zdenek Kolar secured a great comeback win over last week’s Rome Challenger champion Franco Agamenone of Italy. The seventh-seeded Czech won five points less but secured a 1-6, 6-4, 6-3 win after two hours and 15 minutes. Next up for the No. 134 in the ATP Rankings will be Hungarian Mate Valkusz, who benefited from the retirement of Damir Dzumhur from Bosnia and Herzegovina in the first set.
Twenty-five-year-old Kolar commented on his match: “It was a tough match because Francisco is on fire after his title win last week. I hoped that he would be a little bit tired after his strong week, but he played really good in the first set without any chance for me. But I still believed in my game and kept on fighting to be successful in the end.”
Third seed Daniel Elahi Galan faced lucky loser Benjamin Hassan of Lebanon. The 25-year-old Colombian won 77 per cent of his first-service points and gained one break more to prevail 6-3, 3-6,6-3 after two hours and 33 minutes. The World No. 109 will next meet Jurij Rodionov from Austria.
First round – Main draw
John Millman (AUS) – Nikolas Sanchez Izquierdo (ESP) 6-3, 4-6, 6-2
Jiri Lehecka (CZE) – Timofey Skatov (KAZ) 6-7(3), 6-3, 6-4
Dennis Novak (AUT) – Daniel Masur (GER) 6-3, 6-4
Gerald Melzer (AUT) – Borna Gojo (CRO) 6-4, 6-3
Lucas Miedler (AUT) – Egor Gerasimov 7-5, 6-4
Alexander Shevchenko – Lukas Neumayer (AUT) 2-6, 6-3, 6-0
Zdenek Kolar (CZE) – Franco Agamenone (ITA) 1-6, 6-4, 6-3
Daniel Elahi Galan (COL) – Benjamin Hassan (GER) 6-3, 3-6, 6-3
Attila Balazs (HUN) – Matej Sabanov (SRB) 6-4, 6-4
Nino Serdarusic (CRO) – Nerman Fatic (BIH) 7-6(5), 6-4
Mate Valkusz (HUN) – Damir Dzumhur (BIH) 5-2 ret.
Enzo Couacaud (FRA) – Cedrik-Marcel Stebe(GER) 6-2, 6-1
Play continues on Wednesday at 10 am local time with four second-round singles matches as well as the last remaining first-round doubles encounters.