This week’s jam-packed ATP Challenger Tour 175 events began main-draw action Tuesday, with stars such as Thanasi Kokkinakis and Alexander Bublik among those who made a winning start.
The Australian Kokkinakis defeated Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-4, 6-3 in the opening round after winning 17 of 21 points off his first serve and converting seven of 11 break points at the Sardegna Open in Cagliari, Italy.
Kokkinakis will next meet Alessandro Giannessi or Francesco Passaro at the clay-court event, where Yoshihito Nishioka and Ben Shelton are the top two seeds.
It was a day for Italian Mattia Bellucci to remember, as he earned his first Top-100 win by upsetting fifth seed Diego Schwartzman 6-2, 2-6, 6-3. The 21-year-old will next face his countryman Giulio Zeppieri, who survived wild card Andrea Vavassori 7-6(0), 4-6, 6-4.
In other Cagliari action, Japan’s Taro Daniel downed American Aleksandar Kovacevic 6-1, 4-6, 6-1. Daniel, World No. 109, will meet third seed Mackenize McDonald on Thursday.
Sixth seed Alexander Bublik enjoyed a strong start at the Open Aix Provence Credit Agricole, where he edged Riccardo Bonadio 7-6(5), 7-5. The Kazakh will meet three-time Challenger champion Otto Virtanen in the second round after the Finn earned a hard-fought 7-6(4), 7-6(7) win against Frenchman Alexandre Muller.
David Goffin ousted home favourite Benoit Paire 7-6(0), 6-1. The Belgian fended off three set points at 4-5 in the opening set before rallying to down Paire after one hour, 25 minutes. Goffin will clash against fourth seed Mikael Ymer on Thursday.
David Goffin in action at the ATP Challenger 175 event in Aix-en-Provence, France. Credit: Jared Wickerham/ATP Tour
The 18-year-old Luca Van Assche, who is World No. 86, overcame Joao Sousa 6-4, 6-7(2), 6-1 to set up a meeting against countryman and third seed Adrian Mannarino. Van Assche is the youngest player in the Top 100 of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings and a three-time Challenger champion.
A star-studded Wednesday in southern France will include a showdown between three-time major champion Andy Murray and former World No. 6 Gael Monfils. Also among the Aix-en-Provence field is Tommy Paul, Alexander Bublik, and 2022 Next Gen ATP Finals champion Brandon Nakashima.
Murray motion 🎞️ #ATPChallenger | @andy_murray pic.twitter.com/8gzG4LlpU6
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