Agwi Advances At Challenger Hamburg

Michael Agwi (photo: Witters)

HAMBURG, March 12, 2024

Michael Agwi continued his good run of form at the Challenger Hamburg in impressive fashion once again. After successfully navigating the qualifying rounds with two wins, the 20-year-old from Berlin, who represents Ireland, left no chance for experienced Turkish Cem Ilkel in his debut in an ATP Challenger main draw.

The spectators at the venue of the Hamburg Tennis Association were amazed at how Agwi dominated most of the rallies with his powerful baseline game and cleverly placed angles, almost at will. In the end, after only 56 minutes, the wild card player secured a convincing 6-0, 6-2 victory.


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“Today everything went smoothly again. The attitude was also right,” Agwi said afterwards, expressing overall satisfaction. “Cem probably didn’t show his best performance today, but I was able to produce good shots from almost every corner. Also, I was able to bring the energy onto the court again. That made the difference.”

The Formula 1 fan and admirer of Michael Schumacher will unwind today by showering, stretching, having some food, and continuing to watch the TV series “Mr. Robot”. In the second round, he will face the eighth-seeded Swiss Marc-Andrea Huesler.

Former Hamburg champions to clash in second round

Other qualifiers also extended their winning streaks. Jakub Paul, champion of the ITF Futures here in Horn three years ago, prevailed in an all-Swiss affair against Remy Bertola, winning 6-4, 6-3 in one hour and 25 minutes.

World No. 549 Paul will face Alexander Ritschard, another compatriot in the next round. The No. 7 seed of the hard-court event and winner of the Challenger Hamburg two years ago rallied past French veteran Kenny de Schepper 3-6, 6-1, 6-3 after nearly two hours of play.

“I’m happy to be back here again. The entire facility is great. In addition, the people are very nice, and the food is good,” Ritschard said, fully satisfied, with only one suggestion for improvement: “The sun could shine a little more,” added the 29-year-old Zurich native with a wink.

Topo defeats former top-15 player

In the evening, German wild card entry Marko Topo made a successful start into the season. The 20-year-old from Gräfelfing defeated British qualifier Kyle Edmund 6-4, 7-6(8). Topo served nine aces, saved all seven break points he faced and clinched the match in an exciting tie-break after one hour and 39 minutes.

“In the end, only a few points and maybe the nerves made the difference,” Topo said after his victory against the former World No. 14. “In terms of name recognition, this has probably been my best win so far. He is a very experienced player, and therefore, I am very happy to have brought the match home.”

Mixed feelings for top seeds

After top-seeded Briton Jan Choinski exited the tournament on Monday, the tournament’s No. 2 seed also fell in the opening round. World No. 173 Sho Shimabukuro lost to fellow Japanese Yuta Shimizu 7-6(5), 6-4 in one hour and 26 minutes.

Thus, 175th-ranked Yunchaokete Bu remains the highest-seeded player left in the field. The 22-year-old Chinese had no problems against German Sebastian Fanselow in his opening match, winning 6-1, 6-3 after 76 minutes.