Zeppieri Downs Verdasco, As Salzburg Open Kicks Off

Giulio Zeppieri (photo: Brigitte Urban)

SALZBURG, July 4, 2022

The ATP Challenger Tour is back in Austria with the Salzburg Open bringing a power-packed lineup to the clay courts of the Salzburg Tennis Club. World No. 62 Arthur Rinderknech of France leads the field of the €134,920 event and is joined this week by five more Top 100 players.

2020 US Open champion Dominic Thiem received a wild card and will compete in his first match since falling to Hugo Dellien in the opening round at Roland-Garros in May. The 28-year-old Austrian will open his home campaign against his compatriot and qualifier Filip Misolic on Tuesday evening.

“It’s nice to be back in Salzburg, to compete here for the first time,” Thiem said ahead of his first match. “It’s the perfect tournament for the comeback. The first one was not that successful but I took more time for an intense practice and I hope it will work out this time.

Zeppieri outlasts Verdasco

Main draw action kicked off Monday with #NextGenATP Italian Giulio Zeppieri battling past Spanish veteran Fernando Verdasco, who also entered the tournament with a wild card, 6-1, 1-6, 7-6(5). The 20-year-old lefty from Rome sent down five aces and won 72 per cent of his first-service points to prevail after exactly two hours of play.

Zeppieri, who lifted his maiden Challenger trophy on home soil in Barletta last year, will next take on Norbert Gombos of Slovakia, who rallied past Italian youngster Luca Nardi 5-7, 7-5, 6-2 in two hours and nine minutes.

Thiago Monteiro also had to go the distance against Jurij Rodionov from Austria. The No. 6 seed from Brazil rallied from a set down to secure a 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 victory in two hours. Monteiro will next face Alexander Shevchenko from Russia, who beat Frenchman Manuel Guinard 6-2, 6-3 in one hour and 34 minutes.

No. 3 seed Jiri Lehecka opened his title bid with a hard-fought 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 against home favourite Sebastian Ofner. The World No. 72 withstood 10 aces and broke his rival three times to succeed after one hour and 44 minutes. Up next for Lehecka will be the winner of the encounter between Andrej Martin of Slovakia and Austrian qualifier Lucas Miedler.