Istanbul Indoor Challenger: Main Draw Action Kicks Off

Mohamed Safwat (photo: TED Spor Kulübü/Instagram)

STARNBERG, January 18, 2021

Main draw action on the 2021 ATP Challenger Tour season kicked off on Monday with seven first-round matches of the € 132,280 Istanbul Indoor Challenger held at the Ted Sports Club in Istanbul, Turkey. While the outside of the club was looking more like a winter wonderland, players were on fire to hit the hard courts inside.


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Mohamed Safwat of Egypt knocked out No. 2 seeded Brazilian young gun Thiago Seyboth Wild 6-4, 6-1. The 30-year-old sent down seven aces and won 86 per cent of his first-service points to prevail after 61 minutes. Up next for Safwat, who fell in the second round of the qualifying to the Australian Open in Doha to Kimmer Coppejans, will be either British qualifier Jay Clarke or Italy’s Federico Gaio.

#NextGenATP Italian Lorenzo Musetti opened his title bid with a 6-4, 7-6(6) win over Danilo Petrovic of Serbia. The No. 6 seed saved all four break points he faced and capitalized on one of his on 10 break-point chances to secure victory in one hour and 34 minutes. Musetti, who clinched his maiden Challenger title on home soil in Forli last year, will next take on the winner of the encounter between Blaz Rola of Slovenia and Frenchman Benjamin Bonzi.

In the top half of the draw, Turkish wild card entry Ergi Kirkin defeated Italian veteran and World No. 146 Paolo Lorenzi 6-4, 6-2. The World No. 449 from Ankara won 70 per cent of the total points played to advance to the second round in one hour and 25 minutes. Kirkin will next oppose the tournament’s top seed Daniel Elahi Galan of Colombia or Joao Menezes from Brazil.

In other action, Lorenzo Giustino defeated fellow Italian Alessandro Giannessi 7-5, 7-6(5), Carlos Taberner emerged victorious from the all-Spanish battle with Bernabe Zapata Miralles 6-4, 6-2, No. 8 seed Go Soeda of Japan beat Alejandro Tabilo from Chile 6-3, 6-3 and No. 7 seed Jozef Kovalik from Slovakia fought past Turkish wild card entry Altug Celikbilek 7-5, 2-6, 6-4.