Ofner Sets Up Clash With Thiem In Kitzbühel

Sebastian Ofner (photo: Brigitte Urban)

KITZBÜHEL, July 30, 2019 (by Dietmar Kaspar)

Sebastian Ofner has celebrated his first main draw match win on the ATP Tour since February last year, defeating qualifier and fellow Austrian Lucas Miedler in the opening round of the Generali Open in Kitzbühel on Tuesday.

On Center Court, both players didn’t face a break point in the first set and 23-year-old Ofner clinched the opening set in the tie-break by the score of 7-1. In the opening game of the second set, Miedler got the first break of the match but lost his serve in the eighth game. Ofner finished the encounter in another tie-break by the score of 7-5 to secure a 7-6, 7-6 victory after one hour and 42 minutes.

“It is never easy to play against a good friend, especially in Austria against a countryman,” Ofner said. “We were really nervous at the beginning of the match. We both stayed very solid on serve. It was an equal match with the better ending for me in the two tie-breaks.”

„It is not so easy to qualify for main draws at ATP Tour events. There are good players, who compete at ATP Challenger tournaments and a lot of players with good results on the ATP Tour attend at Challengers without winning the title there,” the World No. 176 commented on his his drought period at tour-level.

Ofner will next challenge the tournament’s top seed Dominic Thiem on Wednesday evening for a spot in the stage of the final eight.

Kohlschreiber ends losing-streak

Two–time Kitzbühel champion Philipp Kohlschreiber started his title bid against former top-10-player Richard Gasquet from France. The 35-year-old German emerged victorious from the battle of the veterans, both playing with one-handed backhand. Kitzbühel resident Kohlschreiber capitalized on five of his 12 break point chances to claim a 6-3, 6-2 win after 66 minutes, winning in their fifth tour meeting. Kohlschreiber, who hasn’t won a match since the French Open, snapped a five-match tour-level losing streak.

Following the encounter, Kohlschreiber stated: „It was a good match for me to start into the tournament. Richard is not hitting too hard, so there were a lot of rallies to get a good feeling on the court. I am very happy about the win. It’s not a turnaround after my bad results in recent weeks, but a good start. I was nagged by little injuries in the last months, that didn’t allow me to compete at highest level.”

Kohlschreiber, who is currently ranked World No. 73, will oppose veteran Pablo Andujar in the next round. The 33-year-old Spaniard defeated No. 6 seed Leonardo Mayer of Argentina 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 after one hour and 57 minutes to level their their head-to-head series to 3-3.

Ruud shocks Carreno Busta

Norwegian young gun Casper Ruud, who is currently ranked World No. 65, knocked off Spanish No. 8 seed Pablo Carreno Busta in the opening match on Court Riedel. The 20-year-old Oslo native converted four of his 10 break point opportunities and only lost one of his own service games, to celebrate the win by the score 6-1, 3-6, 6-1 after one hour and 35 minutes. The son of former ATP No. 39 Christian Ruud will next take on Matthias Bachinger from Germany.

World’s No. 326 Jozef Kovalik from Slovakia competed versus 2009 Kitzbühel champion Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain in the first match on Court Küchenmeister. 26-year-old Kovalik won 78 per cent of his first service points to seal a 6-7(1), 6-2, 6-3 victory in two hours and 17 minutes. Kovalik will face Spanish No. 3 seed Fernando Verdasco in the second round.

First round singles action concluded with the victory of Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas versus No. 5 seed Marton Fucsovics from Hungary. In a three hours and 11 minutes lasting encounter, 31-year-old Ramos-Vinolas outpointed his rival 127-126, to claim a 6-7(6), 6-4, 6-4 win. The Barcelona native celebrated his first victory against 27-year-old Fucsovics in their third tour meeting. Ramos-Vinolas will next oppose #NextGenATP semi-finalist Jaume Munar from Spain, who battled past Italian Thomas Fabbiano after two hours and 31 minutes, winning 6-7, 6-1, 6-1.

Top seeds in doubles open their title bid

Later in the day, top seeded Austrian duo Oliver Marach and Jürgen Melzer, who clinched their first team title in Hamburg last week, started their home campaign. They rallied past all-Argentine tandem Leonardo Mayer and Andres Molteni on Centre Court, winning 7-6(9), 2-6, 10-3.

Austrian Philipp Oswald and Filip Polasek from Slovakia, who entered the competition on position two, opened their titel bid with a 7-6(3), 7-5 win overt Spaniards Jaume Munar and Roberto Carballes Baena.

Of special interest for the home crowd was the performance of wild card starters Moritz Thiem, brother of Dominic Thiem, and two-time Olympic gold medalist Nicolas Massu from Chile, the coach of Dominic Thiem. After exactly one hour of play, the pair lost to Hugo Dellien from Bolivia and his Spanish partner David Vega Hernandezby the score of 3-6, 2-6.

Looking ahead

All second-round matches in Kitzbühel are taking place on Wednesday, starting at 11 a.m. World No. 4 Dominic Thiem will face fellow Austrian Sebastian Ofner in the first night session of the Generali Open on a sold-out Centre Court. The match is scheduled not before 7:30 p.m.

For further information and tickets, please visit the tournament’s official homepage.