ATP Tour daily wrap: Cordoba/Montpellier/Pune – Carreno Busta, Karlovic and Verdasco out in respective opening rounds
WITH the Australian Open now in the rear view mirror, the ATP Tour split across three continents, with tournaments in Argentina, France and India. We recap how the first matches from the respective Round of 32s went down.
TATA OPEN, PUNE – INDIA:
Both home nation representatives have fallen, while last year’s runner-up also went down in a day where four singles matches were completed. Qualifier, Viktor Troicki moved through to the Round of 16 following a 6-2 6-7 6-1 victory of India’s Sumit Nagal. Seventh seed Italian, Salvatore Caruso also booked a spot in the next round with a 3-6 6-4 7-5 victory over Indian wildcard Ramkumar Ramanathan, while Japanese fifth seed, Yuichi Sugita downed Italian Thomas Fabbiano comfortably, 6-3 6-0.
The surprise of the day was a straight sets win to German, Cedrik-Marcel Stebe who handled big-serving veteran, Ivo Karlovic in straight sets. While Karlovic celebrated his 40th birthday last year, the Croatian made the Tata Open final 12 months ago and was considered one of the outside contenders for the title. Stebe had other ideas however, winning 6-3 6-4 in just over an hour as Karlovic only marginally shaded Stebe in the ace department (6-5), but the German’s first serve points percentage of 83 per cent was important. Stunningly, Stebe broke Karlovic eight times – from only eight opportunities – while the Croatian could only manage it twice from four chances. Stebe now moves on to face Lithuania’s Ricardas Berankis, the second seed in the tournament.
OPEN SUD DE FRANCE, MONTEPELLIER – FRANCE:
Three singles matches were completed in the opening round at the Open Sud de France as qualifying was completed on Day 2. Canadian, Vasek Pospisil defeated Slovenian, Alijaz Bedene in straight sets, 6-3 6-4, while Frenchman, Gregoire Barrere moved through to the last 16 with a straight sets win over Portugals’ Joao Sousa, 6-2 7-6
The biggest upset occurred with top 30 Spaniard, Pablo Carreno Busta knocked out of the tournament in three sets by Slovakian, Norbert Gombos. The 104th ranked Gombos triumphed after being a set down, 3-6 6-4 6-3 to move through to the Round of 16. The match took an hour and 43 minutes, serving nine aces and winning 72 per cent of his first serve points. Carreno Busta won 75 per cent of his first serve points, but managed just 29 per cent on his second serve. Despite breaking three times, Gombos broke four times and won 42 per cent of his receiving points in one of his best performances to-date.
CORDOBA OPEN, CORDOBA – ARGENTINA:
Down on the clay courts of Cordoba, seventh seed Fernando Verdasco was the biggest casualty of the first day, losing to compatriot, Spanish qualifier Carlos Taberner. The qualifier won 4-6 6-1 6-4 to knock out the experienced veteran, winning 75 per cent of his first serve points and breaking five times to his opponents’ three. While he did serve six double faults to only four aces, he was consistent for longer, particularly after settling in the second set.
In other results, Uruguay’s Pablo Cuevas moved through to the Round of 16 with the sixth seed getting up over Argentinian, Federico Delbonis 7-5 6-2. Meanwhile Hungary’s Attila Balazs defeated Italian, Lorenzo Sonego 6-2 7-6 and Italian Gianluca Mager sent Argentinian qualifier, Juan Pablo Ficovich packing, 6-2 3-6 6-2.