Altmaier Opens Neckarcup Title Bid With Win

Daniel Altmaier (photo: @seventy4_studio)

HEILBRONN, May 10, 2022 (by Dietmar Kaspar & Florian Heer)

The top two seeds of the NECKARCUP opened their title bid with comfortable first-round victories on a sunny Tuesday in Heilbronn.

World No. 66 Daniel Altmaier, No. 1 seed of the €90,280 ATP Challenger clay-court tournament, defeated Facundo Mena of Argentina 6-2, 6-3. The 23-year-old Germany sent down four aces and won 75 per cent of his first-service points to advance after one hour and 14 minutes.

My feeling on the court was really good during practice in the last days and I transferred this form into the match. I am happy about my confident straight-set win today,” the Kempen native told Tennis TourTalk.

Altmaier will next take on Frenchman Constant Lestienne, who battled past last week’s Prague Challenger champion Pedro Cachin of Argentina 6-3, 1-6, 6-1 in one hour and 45 minutes.

Earlier in the day, second-seeded Argentine Facundo Bagnis beat Mitchell Krueger from the United States 6-2, 6-4. The World No. 95 converted five of his nine break-point chances to secure victory in one hour and 26 minutes. Up next for Bagnis will be Czech qualifier and 2019 US Open boys’ champion Jonas Forejtek, who edged past US-American Bjorn Fratangelo 6-1, 6-7(5), 7-6(4). The encounter lasted two hours and 28 minutes.

Mixed feelings for young Germans

The longest match of the day took place on Court 1, where German qualifier Henri Squire outlasted Zizou Bergs from Belgium 7-6(4), 4-6, 6-4 in almost three hours of play.

“It was a very intensive and long match,” Squire said. “I had a good start and in the tie-break. I played more aggressive to win the first set. In spite of losing the second set, I always stayed concentrated and focused to get the win in the end.”

The 21-year-old challenges No. 5 seed Chun-hsin Tseng of Chinese Taipei in the second round.

“I know him from the Juniors Tour. Almost every Grand Slam tournament we both played, he won the title. So I know that it will be a hard task against him,” Squire said of his upcoming opponent.

Max Rehberg, Germany’s best-ranked teenager, was close to his second main draw win at Challenger level. The 18-year-old wild card entry from Munich, sitting at World No. 1062, took the opening set but eventually fell to Thiago Tirante from Argentina 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 after two hours and 28 minutes.

Qualifier and 2018 NECKARCUP champion Rudolf Molleker continued his fine run of form this week by edging out compatriot Nicola Kuhn 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 after two hours and four minutes.


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“I did not play really well today, but I am happy that I stayed mentally strong until the end. In the deciding set, my good serve helped me to get the win,” Molleker said in his on-court interview.

The World No. 467 will next play defending champion Bernabe Zapata Miralles of Spain.

RESULTS – MAY 10, 2022Singles – First Round[1] D. Altmaier (GER) d F. Mena (ARG) 62 63[2] F. Bagnis (ARG) d M. Krueger (USA) 62 64[8] A. Martin (SVK) d E. Gerasimov 64 75C. Lestienne (FRA) d P. Cachin (ARG) 63 16 61T. Tirante (ARG) d [WC] M. Rehberg (GER) 36 64 64[Q] B. Hassan (LIB) d D. Stricker (SUI) 76(4) 20 Retired[Q] H. Squire (GER) d Z. Bergs (BEL) 76(4) 46 64[Q] O. Krutykh (UKR) d G. Simon (FRA) 62 61[Q] R. Molleker (GER) d [Alt] N. Kuhn (GER) 64 46 64[LL] M. Zekic (SRB) d [Q] S. Nagal (IND) 36 51 Retired[Q] J. Forejtek (CZE) d B. Fratangelo (USA) 61 67(5) 76(4)

Doubles – First Round[2] I. Sabanov (SRB) / M. Sabanov (SRB) d Y. Bhambri (IND) / S. Myneni (IND) 36 64 12-10A. Martin (SVK) / T. Weissborn (AUT) d [WC] C. Frantzen (GER) / T. Sandkaulen (GER) 75 67(5) 10-6