Tag: ramkumar ramanathan

ATP 250s wraps: Tsonga beaten on return as Popyrin claims win in Singapore

GRAND SLAM finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga made his long-awaited return to the ATP Tour at the Open Sud de France in Montpellier yesterday, though it did not go plan. The former Top 10 talent was easily beaten by American Sebastian Korda in the first round of the ATP 250 event.

The match lasted just 72 minutes with Korda claiming the spoils, 6-4 6-2, dominating on serve and only dropping eight points in total, saving both of his opponent’s break point opportunities. Tsonga was far from his best, but getting through the match was the key, still winning 69 per cent of his first serve points, and serving five aces throughout the match. He saved three of six break points, but ultimately could not do enough against a player who has built form over the past 12 months.

It was better news for sixth seed Ugo Humbert, whose rise up the ATP Rankings continues following his straight sets win over Slovakian Norbert Gombos. Humbert won 6-4 7-6 in 78 minutes, slamming home 18 aces and winning 88 per cent of his first serve points off an elite 79 per cent efficiency to never give his opponent a chance. In Gombos’ defence, he held up well, actually breaking Humbert once from two chances, while the Frenchman broke him from both his opportunities. Overall the class of Humbert stood out and he advanced to the Round of 16.

In the final match played on day one of the main draw event, seventh seed Lorenzo Sonego battled past young Frenchman Hugo Gaston. The Italian won 6-3 6-7 6-1, holding his nerve in the third set after dropping the second set tiebreaker 9-7, to win in two hours and 19 minutes. He served seven aces and broke six times from 12 chances, while only being broken three times himself.

In today’s action, there are plenty more Frenchman on show, with Lucas Pouille taking on compatriot and wildcard Benjamin Bonzi, while Gilles Simon faces Austrian Dennis Novak. The match of the day could be either British wildcard and Grand Slam winner Andy Murray taking on Belarusian Egor Gerasimov, or Swede Mikael Ymer locking horns with Jiri Vesely.


[6] Ugo Humbert (FRA) defeated Norbert Gombos (SVK) 6-4 7-6
[7] Lorenzo Sonego (ITA) defeated [WC] Hugo Gaston (FRA) 6-3 6-7 6-1
Sebastian Korda (USA) defeated Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) 6-4 6-2

Five first round matches were completed in Singapore, with a mixed bag for the two seeds on court. Fifth seed Japanese counter puncher Yoshihito Nishioka defeated improving American Michael Mmoh 6-2 3-6 6-3, while seventh seed South African Lloyd Harris went down in three sets to Bulgarian wildcard Adrian Andreev.

Nishioka needed almost two hours to defeat Mmoh, surviving 11 aces to bring up 10 break point opportunities, albeit only taking three. It was two more than Mmoh who broke once in the second set, but could not do it again in the match. Meanwhile Andreev took two hours and 19 minutes to knock off the fast-serving Harris, not needing to serve and ace and even holding off 12 of 15 break point chances for the South African to win 1-6 6-3 6-4. The Bulgarian bounced back from a disappointing first set to post the impressive win over the developing Harris.

Andreev now takes on Australian Alexei Popyrin who knocked off American qualifier, Christopher Eubanks in two tiebreakers, 7-6 7-6, both of which were 7-5 tiebreakers. The match lasted one hour and 46 minutes, with Popyrin powering home 15 aces and saving 10 of 11 break points in a remarkable feat. He won 72 per cent of his first serve points, and also only broke Eubanks once, holding firm in the crucial tiebreakers to claim a narrow straight sets win.

In other Singapore results, United States’ Maxime Cressy became his nation’s sole winner on the day, downing Chinese Taipei’s Jason Jung in straight sets 7-6 6-2, while Japan’s Taro Daniel joined compatriot Nishioka in the second round after a tight three-set win over India’s Ramkumar Ramanathan, 6-3 6-7 6-3.

In today’s action, three Australians are out on court, with Marc Polmans up first against Japan’s Yasutaka Uchiyama. Following that match, qualifier John-Patrick Smith has to find a way to upstage sixth seed Macedonian Radu Albot, before James Duckworth takes to the court at night against German, Yannick Hanfmann.


[5] Yoshihito Nishioka (JPN) defeated Michael Mmoh (USA) 6-2 3-6 6-3
[WC] Adrian Andreev (BUL) defeated [7] Lloyd Harris (RSA) 1-6 6-3 6-4
Maxime Cressy (USA) defeated Jason Jung (TAI) 7-6 6-2
Taro Daniel (JPN) defeated Ramkumar Ramanathan (IND) 6-3 6-7 6-3
Alexei Popyrin (AUS) defeated [Q] Christopher Eubanks (USA) 7-6 7-6

At the time of publishing, none of the day one matches had been completed in Cordoba, with the Argentinian tournament finishing off the third round of qualifying earlier in the day. The night session featured two Round of 32 matches which will be covered in tomorrow’s wrap, with Colombian Daniel Elahi Galan facing Slovakian Jozef Kovalik, followed by Spaniard Jaume Munar taking on Chilean wildcard Nicolas Jarry.

Picture credit: ATP Tour

Davis Cup Qualifiers review: Home court proves strong advantage

OF the 12 teams to qualify for the Davis Cup Finals in November, 10 of those moving through qualifying were the home nation in their respective ties over the weekend. So strong was the home court advantage or home nation support, was that the number two and three seeds were bundled out, with only the eleventh seed Japan getting ousted at home. Aside from Ecuador’s upset win over Japan, ninth seed Czech Republic was the only other team to win in a foreign nation, defeating Slovakia to book a spot in the final 16.

[1] Croatia 3 defeated India 1

The number one seeds advanced through without too much trouble, as Marin Cilic won both his singles matches in very different circumstances. He downed Ramkumar Ramanathan 7-6 7-6 – both 10-8 in the tiebreakers on Day 1, before smashing Sumit Nagal on Day 3 with a 6-0 6-1 rout. Borna Gojo also won his singles, having to come from a set down against Prajnesh Gunneswaran 3-6 6-4 6-2. India had a reason to celebrate in the doubles however, with Rohan Bopanna and Leander Paes – both well into their 40s – winding back the clock to defeat Mate Pavic and Franko Skugor 6-3 6-7 7-5 to ensure India had a win on the board in the tie.

Hungary 3 defeated [2] Belgium 2

Hungary fought back from a 2-1 deficit to defeat second seeds Belgium in front of a home crowd and book its spot in the Davis Cup Finals. Without David Goffin, Belgium got off to a solid start with Ruben Bemelmans defeating Attila Balazs 5-7 7-6 6-4, before Marton Fucsovics levelled the scores for Hungary with a 6-2 5-7 6-4 victory over Kimmer Coppejans. The visitors again took the lead after a doubles win courtesy of Sander Gille and Jordan Vliegen, who downed Balazs and Fucsovics 3-6 6-1 6-4. The pair managed to pick up the slack again on the third day and carry the nation to victory with Balazs defeating Coopejans in straight sets, then Fucsovics coming from a set down to win against Bemelmans, 6-7 6-4 6-2 and send his nation to the Finals.

Colombia 3 defeated [3] Argentina 1

Daniel Elahi Galan is the toast of Colombia after guiding his nation to the Davis Cup Finals with two singles victories against Argentina. Playing against the higher ranked Leonardo Mayer and Juan Ignacio Londero, Galan was able to control play and win both comfortably in straight sets. With the number one doubles combination in the world in Juan-Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah ensuring that they took out the doubles tie, it handed the South Americans a spot in the next round. Londero was the sole success story for the visitors, coming from a set down to knock over Santiago Giraldo 6-7 6-3 6-2 in the second rubber of the tie.

[4] USA 4 defeated Uzbekistan 0

It was expected and it lived up to fruition – a United States whitewash over Uzbekistan to quickly move through to the next round. Not taking any chances, the home side put up Reilly Opelka and Taylor Fritz on the opening day who waltzed past Denis Istomin and Sanjar Fayziev in straight sets respectively, before the Bryan brothers did the same thing to the Uzbekistan pair in the doubles. With the tie wrapped up, the United States handed Tommy Paul a Davis Cup debut and he trounced Istomin 6-3 6-0 for a 4-0 win.

[5] Australia 3 defeated Brazil 1

Missing both of their top preferences for the singles in Alex de Minaur and Nick Kyrgios, Australia still moved through to the Davis Cup Finals, but not without a sterling challenge from a much lower ranked Brazilian outfit. Jordan Thompson won in straight sets over Thiago Monteiro in what was expected to be a danger game for the Australians, but instead it was the remainder of the matches that pushed the green and gold to the limit. John Millman led the team in the absence of de Minaur and Kyrgios, triumphing in both singles matches from a set down, defeating up-and-coming talent Thiago Seyboth Wild 4-6 7-6 6-2 and then Monteiro 6-7 7-6 7-6 to ensure the home team moved through. Brazil did claim a win in the doubles however, with Marcelo Demoliner and Felipe Meligeni Rodrigues Alves winning 5-7 7-5 7-6 against John Peers and debutant, James Duckworth.

[6] Italy 4 defeated South Korea 0

Another predicted whitewash occurred with Italy trouncing South Korea behind closed doors without dropping a set. With the exception of Gianluca Mager‘s 6-3 7-5 win over Ji Sung Nam, the South Koreans did not win more than four games in a match with Fabio Fognini smashing Duckhee Lee 6-0 6-3, Stefano Travaglia winning over Yunseong Chung 6-0 6-1, and the pair of Fognini and Simone Bolelli defeating Nam and Min-Kyu Song 6-3 6-1 in the doubles.

[7] Germany 4 defeated Belarus 1

In one of the more feel-good Davis Cup ties of the weekend, the spectators got their money’s worth with the full five matches being played and Germany getting up 4-1. Jan-Lennard Struff got the home nation off to the perfect start with a 6-4 6-4 triumph over Ilya Ivashka, before Egor Gerasimov took advantage of an underdone Philipp Kohlschreiber 4-6 7-5 7-6 in a come-from-behind win to level the tie at 1-1. Germany’s doubles team of Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies won 6-4 7-6 over Ivashka and Andrei Vasilevski, before Struff continued his form with an impressive 6-3 6-2 victory over Gerasimov to win his nation the tie. Whilst many other ties packed it in after the result was decided, Germany and Belarus opted to blood debutants in Dominik Koepfer and Daniil Ostapenkov for the fifth and final rubber, with the former ending up playing a match to remember in a 6-0 6-2 smashing to make it a 4-1 result.

[8] Kazakhstan 3 defeated Netherlands 1

Despite dropping the first match of the tie, Kazakhstan came back to post a 3-1 victory over Netherlands and live up to its eighth seed billing. Robin Haase got the visitors excited early with a 6-4 6-7 6-3 win over Mikhail Kukushkin, but Alexander Bublik came to town with a 7-6 7-6 narrow win over Tallon Griekspoor. The Kazakhstan duo of Andrey Golubev and Aleksandr Nedovyesov won 6-3 6-3 over Haase and partner Jean-Julien Rojer, before Bublik again got the better of an overloaded Haas, 7-6 6-1 to help Kazakhstan move through to the 16-team Davis Cup Finals.

Slovakia 1 defeated by [9] Czech Republic 3

Jiri Vesely has steered Czech Republic to a solid 3-1 win over Slovakia to ensure it moved onto the Davis Cup Finals. The top ranked player in the tie defeated Jozef Kovalik 6-3 7-5, then took down Andrej Martin in three sets, 4-6 7-5 7-5. Lukas Rosol won his singles clash in the second rubber with a 6-4 6-4 triumph over Martin, while the home team scored a win with Filip Polasek and Igor Zelenay winning in straight sets over Czech pair, Jonas Forejtek and Zdenek Kolar 6-4 6-4.

[10] Austria 3 defeated Uruguay 1

Despite his best efforts, Pablo Cuevas was unable to carry his Uruguayan nation to victory over Austria, suffering a 3-1 loss. Cuevas won a tough singles tie against Jurji Rodionov 6-7 6-3 7-6 on the opening day, but went down with Ariel Behar in the doubles against Oliver Marach and Jurgen Melzer in three sets, then suffered defeat against a well rested Dennis Novak despite winning the first set, losing 2-6 6-3 6-4. Cuevas’ brother Martin also played on the opening day and lost his singles tie to Novak, 6-2 6-4. With only three players actually ranked on the ATP Tour, Uruguay has been amazing to get as far as it has to-date, but Cuevas can only do so much.

[11] Japan 0 defeated by Ecuador 3

Unlike the Germany-Belarus clash, Japan and Ecuador both wanted to done-and-run it in front of an approximate crowd of zero people. With the threat of the coronavirus prevalent, Japanese officials were very wary and closed off the Davis Cup tie to the public. Despite heading in as favourites, top Japanese player Kei Nishikori did not take the court, and the Ecuadorians went on to down with a 3-0 domination of their opponents. Emilio Gomez defeated Go Soeda 7-5 7-6, Roberto Quiroz just got past Yasutaka Uchiyama 7-6 2-6 7-6 in a 10-8 deciding tiebreaker, before Diego Hidalgo and Gonzalo Escobar won against Uchiyama and Ben McLachlan 7-6 6-3 to wrap up the tie. Needless to say given the already high anxiousness around the tie, Japan pulled the pin with the result done and dusted.

[12] Sweden 3 defeated Chile 1

In the final tie, Chile was without top player Cristian Garin and it showed with Mikael Ymer getting the better of lower ranked Chilean opponents at home to guide his nation to a 3-1 victory. Ymer downed Marcelo Tomas Barrios Vera 6-2 6-3 on the opening day, then backed it up with a 3-6 7-5 6-3 come-from-behind win over Alejandro Tabilo in the fourth rubber. Experienced doubles combination Markus Eriksson and Robert Lindstedt were too strong for Barrios Vera and Tabilo in the doubles, with Tabilo getting Chile’s only win of the tie the day before against Elias Ymer 6-4 6-3.

2020 Davis Cup Qualifiers preview: Finals spots up for grabs in huge weekend of action

THE Davis Cup qualifiers take place over the weekend, with 12 matches across the globe. Each of the winning sides will book a place in November’s new format Davis Cup Finals, joining 2019 semi-finalists Canada, Great Britain, Russia and Spain, and the two wildcards in France and Serbia.

[1] Croatia vs. India

Croatia: Marin Cilic, Borna Gojo, Nino Serdarusic, Ivan Dodig, Mate Pavic
India: Sumit Nagal, Prajnesh Gunneswaran, Ramkumar Ramanathan, Rohan Bopanna, Leander Paes

The first seeds host the 22nd ranked India at home on clay and given they head in without their top player in Borna Coric, it is not as straight forward as it should be for the number two ranked nation in the world. Cilic should easily account for both Nagal and Gunneswaran, but with 276th ranked Gojo the number two singles player for Croatia, it could come down to the doubles. That might be the match of the entire tie, with Dodig and Pavic both ranked inside the top 20 for doubles, while Bopanna and Paes are world-class doubles players even if they are getting on in age at 41 and 46 years of age.

Tip: Croatia 3-2

Hungary vs. [2] Belgium

Hungary: Marton Fucsovics, Attila Balazs, Zsombor Piros, Fabian Marozsan, Peter Nagy
Belgium: Kimmer Coppejans, Ruben Bemelmans, Arthur De Greef, Jordan Vliegen, Sander Gille

World number four, Belgium travel to Hungary to take on the 24th ranked Hungary in what is genuinely a danger tie for Belgium. Without star and top 20 player David Goffin, the number two seeds are in for a real challenge to overcome a Hungarian duo of Fucsovics and Balazs who are in some nice form as it stands. Both have had a number of upset wins already this year, with Fucsovics most notably taking down Denis Shapovalov in the first round of the Australian Open. The Hungarians could well clean sweep in the singles, though Coopejans is not one to be underestimated and could win both his matches. He needs to, because if he loses then Hungary should progress, though the doubles pairing of Vliegen and Gille should easily win the doubles, giving them some hope on the deciding day.

Tip: Hungary 3-2

Colombia vs. [3] Argentina

Colombia: Daniel Elahi Galan, Santiago Giraldo, Alejandro Gonzalez, Juan-Sebastian Cabal, Robert Farah
Argentina: Guido Pella, Juan Ignacio Londero, Leonardo Mayer, Horacio Zeballos, Maximo Gonzalez

The clay courts of Bogota do not hold an advantage for either side, with the Colombians and Argentinians both very capable on the surface. In saying that, Argentina should realistically breeze through the tie with only the doubles being the huge question mark. Pella has nominated to play which was the important aspect, given Diego Schwartzman‘s injury forcing his withdrawal. One would expect Galan and Giraldo to play the singles ties, but unless Pella or even Londero are having bad days, then Argentina should win it comfortably. Pella and Londero are both inconsistent though, so Galan playing the way he is capable of could help Colombia to a singles win, but the 19th ranked side is unlikely to make too much of an impact outside of their top ranked doubles combination of Cabal and Farah.

Tip: Argentina 4-1

[4] USA vs. Uzbekistan

USA: Taylor Fritz, Reilly Opelka, Tommy Paul, Bob Bryan, Mike Bryan
Uzbekistan: Denis Istomin, Khumoyun Sultanov, Sanjar Fayziev, Olimjon Nabiev

While the United States will be without their top ranked player in John Isner, realistically they could have their seventh and eighth best players and still get the job done here. The depth of the United States is far too strong for Uzbekistan who will be relying on Istomin to carry the side, probably through both singles and a doubles with a couple of youngsters named in the side. The home nation’s second and third best players in Fritz and Opelka should win all their singles, and with the Bryan brothers also likely to take out the doubles without too much problem. Expect Paul to make his debut with the tie wrapped up by the third day.

Tip: United States 5-0

[5] Australia vs. Brazil

Australia: John Millman, Jordan Thompson, James Duckworth, Alex Bolt, John Peers
Brazil: Thiago Monteiro, Joao Menezes, Thiago Seyboth Wild, Felipe Meligeni Rodrigues Alves, Marvelo Demoliner

A wounded Australian outfit hosts Brazil in Adelaide with its top two players out with injury. Both Nick Kyrgios and Alex de Minaur are unavailable which means Millman and Thompson will lead the attack, while Duckworth and Bolt could make their debuts. Even the lowest ranked Aussie – Bolt is ranked higher than the second seeded Brazilian in Menezes, so the green and gold should still get home with a win. Monteiro could cause some problems, but Australia will realistically come away with a comfortable win, particularly on home soil.

Tip: Australia 4-1

[6] Italy vs. South Korea

Italy: Fabio Fognini, Lorenzo Sonego, Gianluca Mager, Stefano Travaglia, Simone Bolelli
South Korea: Duckhee Lee, Ji Sung Nam, Yunseong Chung, Min-Kyu Song, Hong Chung

The Italians have gone with a relatively strong outfit against the third lowest ranked Davis Cup nation in South Korea (29th). Playing at home, the sixth seeded and 11th ranked nation will only be missing Matteo Berrettini and young gun, Jannik Sinner from the best possible outfit, with Fognini – despite being out of form – and Sonego likely to take out Lee and Nam if they are the chosen singles players. South Korea could win the doubles with Nam and Song both inside the top 120 in that format. One in-form South Korean is Soonwoo Kwon who has not nominated for the tie, while the second ranked compatriot in Hyeon Chung is also unavailable leading the remainder of the team outside the top 200 in the ATP Tour. The most one-sided contest of the lot.

Tip: Italy 5-0

[7] Germany vs. Belarus

Germany: Jan-Lennard Struff, Philipp Kohlschreiber, Dominik Koepfer, Kevin Krawietz, Andreas Mies
Belarus: Egor Gerasimov, Ilya Ivashka, Alexander Zgirovsky, Martin Borisiouk, Andrei Vasilevski

Germany might be without its top player in Alexander Zverev, but the seventh seed nation should not have too many problems winning at home against Belarus. The tie is taking place in Dusseldorf on hardcourt, with Struff and Kohlschreiber more than likely to hold their own against Gerasimov and Ivashka. Gerasimov has shown a capability to cause headaches for the opposition, but Struff should win both singles and Kohlschreiber – if over his injury – at least one. The doubles pairing of the 12th ranked Krawietz and 13th ranked Mies should also be too much for any Belarusian pairing.

Tip: Germany 4-1

[8] Kazakhstan vs. Netherlands

Kazakhstan: Alexander Bublik, Mikhail Kukushkin, Dmitry Popko, Aleksandr Nedovyesov, Andrey Golubev
Netherlands: Robin Haase, Botic Van De Zandschulp, Tallon Griekspoor, Wesley Koolhof, Jean-Julien Rojer

Two sides that head into the Davis Cup qualifiers with their full strength sides are Kazakhstan and Netherlands, with up-and-coming talents Bublik and Popko some players of the future. Bublik and Kukushkin will likely share the first day duties and if they can knock over the tie, then Popko might get the call-up. Netherlands will not be an easy team to necessarily knock over, with the doubles pairing of Koolhof and Rojer impressive, while Haase and Griekspoor are no pushovers either. In saying that, Kazakhstan should still have the upper hand.

Tip: Kazakhstan 3-2

Slovakia vs. [9] Czech Republic

Slovakia: Andrej Martin, Norbert Gombos, Jozef Kovalik, Filip Polasek
Czech Republic: Jiri Vesely, Lukas Rosol, Zdenek Kolar, Vit Kopriva, Jonas Forejtek

Slovakia enters the Davis Cup qualifiers as the second lowest ranked nation at 31st overall, while Czech Republic sits at 15th and are the ninth seed in these qualifiers. Neither of these sides has a top 50 ranked player which makes it a much more even tie than the rankings may suggest. Vesely will lead the way for the Czechs, while Rosol is always a dangerous player on his day. Martin, Gombos and Kovalik are all capable of playing in those top two singles players, while the seventh ranked doubles player in Polasek will need to work hard with whoever teams up with him. This will likely be one of the tightest contests of the weekend.

Tip: Czech Republic 3-2

[10] Austria vs. Uruguay

Austria: Dennis Novak, Sebastian Ofner, Jurij Rodionov, Jurgen Melzer, Oliver Marach
Uruguay: Pablo Cuevas, Martin Cuevas, Franco Roncadelli, Ariel Behar, Francisco Llanes

The lowest ranked nation at the Davis Cup qualifiers, Uruguay actually have the best player in the tie. Pablo Cuevas will likely win both his singles against Novak and Ofner, which means the 36th ranked nation just has to find another win somehow. The reason Uruguay is ranked so low is because three of the members are unranked in singles, with only the Cuevas brothers earning ATP Tour points. It will be an uphill battle in the other ties, with the Cuevas’s to have a heavy workload over the weekend. Melzer and Marach are a couple of experienced doubles players and will hand the 10th seeds the edge in the tie.

Tip: Austria 3-2

[11] Japan vs. Ecuador

Japan: Kei Nishikori, Yoshihito Nishioka, Yasutaka Uchiyama, Go Soeda, Ben McLachlan
Ecuador: Emilio Gomez, Roberto Quiroz, Diego Hidalgo, Gonzalo Escobar, Antonio Cayetano March

In a selfless approach to his tennis, former top five player, Nishikori will compete for Japan in a must-win clash against the lowly ranked Ecuador. They could well win all the matches in a sweep, especially if Nishikori takes the court. The Japanese star has been battling an elbow injury, and with the coronavirus forcing this match behind closed doors, there is plenty working against the Asian nation. However Japan should take care of business against Ecuador with Gomez the highest ranked singles player at 149th, with Nishikori and the in-form Nishioka to win all the singles, and New Zealand-born McLachlan to lead the doubles side.

Tip: Japan 5-0

[12] Sweden vs. Chile

Sweden: Mikael Ymer, Elias Ymer, Markus Eriksson, Carl Soderlund, Robert Lindstedt
Chile: Cristian Garin, Alejandro Tabilo, Marcelo Tomas Barrios Vera, Bastian Malla

The closest match in terms of Davis Cup rankings is that between the 18th ranked Sweden and the 21st ranked Chile. Playing in Stockholm will give the teams – who both have developing youngsters – a chance to shine on the hard courts with Sweden having the home court advantage. Mikael Ymer is always a threat, ranked 72nd in the world at just 21-years-old, while his brother – two years his senior will take up the second ranked spot in the singles. Garin has found some form over the past month and will be hard to beat for the visitors, winning a title albeit on clay, though his second ranked teammate, Tabilo will need to be at his best to topple the Ymers. It will be close, but Chile should get it overall.

Tip: Chile 3-2

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.


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.


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.


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.