FRANCAVILLA AL MARE/STARNBERG, May 19, 2022
Alex Rybakov has reached the quarterfinals of the Challenger Francavilla al Mare. The World No. 349 from the United States knocked out Daniel Dutra da Silva of Brazil, No. 3 seed of the €32,160 clay-court event, 6-7(4), 6-3, 6-1 on a sunny and hot Wednesday afternoon on the east coast of Italy.
Rybakov, a winner of four titles on the ITF Pro Circuit, struck eight aces and won 65 per cent of his first-service points to secure victory in two hours and 51 minutes.
“It was a tough one,” Rybakov said. “I was up in the first set and it hurt to lose the set after an hour. But I knew that I was being aggressive, playing my game and having much chances in the second. Then, I just told myself keep going in the third and that’s what I did.”
The 25-year-old lefty from New York will next take on fifth-seeded Canadian Alexis Galarneau, who benefited from the retirement of Italian lucky loser Riccardo Balzerani. Galarneau was leading 6-3, 4-0 when the home favourite was forced to stop playing due to heat exhaustion.
The bottom half of the draw is led by No. 2 seed Mate Valkusz. The 268th-ranked Hungarian battled past Matteo Viola of Italy 6-3, 2-6, 6-3. Valkusz capitalized on four of his eight break-point chances to prevail after one hour and 40 minutes. Up next for the 23-year-old Budapest native will be No. 6 seed Hernan Casanova of Argentina, who beat Portuguese Joao Domingues 6-4, 6-4. The encounter lasted one hour and 39 minutes.
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