Celikbilek Delights Home Crowd At Antalya Open

Altug Celikbilek advances to the second round of the Antalya Open

ANTALYA, June 24, 2019

The last stops on the road to Wimbledon are on the lawns of Antalya and Eastbourne. At the Turkish Airlines Open Antalya, three young local players received main-draw wild cards. Two of them were in first-round action on Monday.

Altug Celikbilek defeated former World No. 10 Ernests Gulbis of Latvia 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 in his ATP Tour main draw debut at Belek. The 22-year-old withstood 14 aces, breaking his opponent’s serve two times to secure victory in one hour and 53 minutes. Celikbilek has become the first Turkish player to earn an ATP match win since Marsel Ilhan in 2017 Antalya.

“I served big today, big enough to stay in the match and I knew that I will have the chance to break him,” Celikbilek told Tennis TourTalk afterwards. “This win means a lot to me. I was born and grew up in Antalya. That’s my home here and it is an amazing feeling.”

The World No. 443, who usually competes on the ITF World Tennis Tour and captured two titles at this level this season, played only his second match on grass. “I only had two practice sessions but I feel pretty well, as I like faster surfaces,” Celikbilek stated and will next take on defending champion Damir Dzumhur.

The No. 5 seed from Bosnia and Herzegovina opened his title bid with a 6-4, 7-5 win over Matthew Ebden from Australia. The encounter lasted one hour and 22 minutes.

“It’s always nice to come to the place where you won the tournament,” Dzumhur said. “But there is also some pressure for me. I was a bit injured after Roland Garros and now I am happy to be through to the second round.” 

Gojowczyk wins first match since April

Later in the afternoon, Peter Gojowczyk of Germany snapped a seven-match losing streak, beating 20-year-old Ergi Kirkin of Turkey. The 29-year-old Munich native, who split with his long-time coach Alexander Satschko after the clay-court season, won 6-3, 6-7(3), 6-2 in just under two hours of play.

“I didn’t play my best tennis today, but you have a lot of bad bounces on the courts here,” Gojowczyk said. “I was a bit lucky to play a wild card entry in the first round but it was also a tough match today. Nonetheless, it’s nice to secure a win again. I hope to get a better feeling on the court during practice tomorrow and then let’s see what’s going to happen in the next round.”

Gojowczyk, who is making his debut in Antalya and enjoys the short distanced between the hotel and the venue as well as the golf course situated right next to the tennis courts, will next take on Bernard Tomic of Australia. The 26-year-old knocked off No. 7 seeded Italian Andreas Seppi, winning 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 in two hours and seven minutes.

Photo Gallery (by Florian Heer):