Ritschard Advances To Second Round In Troisdorf

Alexander Ritschard (photo: Florian Heer)


Alexander Ritschard headlined Tuesday’s first-round action at the Saturn Oil Open by knocking out last year’s Meerbusch champion Tomas Barrios Vera of Chile, No. 2 seed of the €45,730 ATP Challenger Tour clay-court tournament in Troisdorf, Germany. The World No. 202 from Switzerland struck seven aces and won 79 per cent of his first-service points to secure a 7-5, 7-6(4) victory in almost two hours of play.

Ritschard will next take on Jelle Sels from the Netherlands, who outlasted Matheus Pucinelli de Almeida of Brazil 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 in two hours and 44 minutes.

Swiss teen sensation and sixth favourite Dominic Stricker also booked his spot in the second round following a 3-6, 6-2, 6-1 win over his compatriot and qualifier Remy Bertola. The 19-year-old lefty from Munsingen converted four of his five break-point chances to prevail after one hour and 43 minutes. Stricker will next play Zizou Bergs from Belgium, who fought past local wild card entry Rudolf Molleker 3-6, 7-6(6), 7-6(5) in two hours and 17 minutes.

In other action, Roman Safiullin remained untroubled in his opening match. The No. 3 seed from Russia cruised past Daniel Michalski of Poland 6-0, 6-1 in only 55 minutes. Up next for Safiullin will be either Benjamin Hassan from Lebanon or Germany’s Julian Lenz.

In the top half of the draw, fourth-seeded Frenchman Hugo Grenier defeated German wild card Marko Topo 6-2, 6-4 and will next face qualifier Aldin Setkic from Bosnia and Herzegovina. The 34-year-old rallied from a set down to overcome Lukas Lacko of Slovakia 4-6, 6-3, 6-4. The encounter lasted two hours and four minutes.

Russian qualifier Andrey Chepelev upset No. 8 seed Thiago Tirante of Argentina 6-4, 5-7, 6-2 and will next oppose Frederico Ferreira Silva from Portugal, who edged out Canadian Steven Diez 7-6(3), 6-3 in two hours and four minutes.