Otte Beats Top Seed, As Neckarcup Main Draw Kicks Off

Oscar Otte

HEILBRONN, May 10, 2021

World No. 153 Oscar Otte headlined first-round action on the opening day of the main draw at the award-winning NECKARCUP. The 27-year-old from Germany knocked out top seed and 2018 finalist Jiri Vesely from the Czech Republic 7-6(2), 7-6(3) on a cloudy but mild Monday afternoon in Heilbronn.

Otte, who finished runner-up to Dutchman Tallon Griekspoor at the Prague Open only about 24 hours before the start of his encounter in Germany’s southwest, outpointed his rival 89-78 after one hour and 52 minutes.

“It was not easy to play in windy conditions today but I tried to focus on my game and it worked out pretty well. I am happy to reach the second round,” said Otte. “Yesterday’s final was very close but Tallon played very well and deserved to win. Right after the match we drove to Heilbronn, arrived in the evening and relaxed in the hotel. Physically I feel fresh.”

Otte will next take on Bernabe Zapata Miralles, who edged past Illya Marchenko from the Ukraine 6-3, 7-6(2) in one hour and 41 minutes.

“We have already played a couple of times,” Otte commented on his upcoming opponent. “I think that we will play Wednesday and I expect an even encounter. It’s great to be back here. This is one of my favourite tournaments and I am looking forward to the next match.”

Daniel, Nakashima advance

In other action, No. 5 seed Taro Daniel defeated Daniel Altmaier of Germany 7-5, 6-0. The 28-year-old Japanese sent down six aces and won 77 per cent of his first-service points to seal victory in one hour and 25 minutes.

“The first set was pretty tough, as I need to get used to the conditions. The balls are bouncing very high here. At the end it was important to keep myself aggressive. He can play very well but I was able to take advantage being more consistent,” Daniel told Tennis TourTalk after his first appearance in Heilbronn.

“Unfortunately, the city is in very strict Covid rules right now and we cannot enjoy the city. I can see from the car when we go to the hotel that the centre looks nice, but it’s difficult to got there, as everything is closed. I like playing in Germany. I like the vibe of the club. It is very relaxed. It feels like very accessible with many good courts.”

Daniel will next take on either Andrey Kuznetsov of Russia or Tomas Etcheverry from Argentina.

In the longest match of the day, US-American Brandon Nakashima fought past Marc-Andreas Huesler of Switzerland 6-7(3), 6-4, 7-6(3) in his NECKARCUP debut. The 19-year-old from California withstood 19 aces from Huesler and broke his serve two times to prevail after after almost three hours of play.

“It was really tough with a lot of ups and downs and obviously it’s good to go through,” Nakashima said. “He has a big serve and it is difficult to get into the points but once I made it into the rallies, I felt comfortable.”

Stebe forced to withdraw

The highly-expected all-German clash between former World No. 16 Philipp Kohlschreiber and Cedrik-Marcel Stebe was cancelled, as Stebe was forced to withdraw from the match with a foot injury.


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“I suffered from plantar fasciitis during practice this morning,” Stebe explained. “After consulting the trainer and doctor, I decided not to play today. I didn’t want to risk too much, as Roland Garros is just around the corner … I hope to return to the court by the end of this week.”

Instead of facing Stebe, No. 7 seed Kohlschreiber will play French qualifier Maxime Janvier in his opening match on Tuesday morning.

Qualifiers complete main draw

In the final round of the qualifying, Australia’s Alexander Vukic, Maxime Janvier as well as wild card entries Mats Moraing and Ergi Kirkin have booked their spot in the main draw. The latter was already on his way to Prague to compete in an ITF World Tennis Tour M25 event in the capital city of the Czech Republic, when he received the call from NECKARCUP tournament director Metehan Cebeci.

“We took a car from Prague and arrived in Heilbronn one day ahead of the start of the qualifying. It was like an adventure but I am happy to qualify and I will give my best for the next match,” said Kirkin and will continue his campaign against Brazilian lucky loser Joao Menezes.

Singles – First Round
O. Otte (GER) d [1] J. Vesely (CZE) 76(2) 76(3)
[5] T. Daniel (JPN) d D. Altmaier (GER) 75 60
S. Nagal (IND) d [6] D. Kudla (USA) 75 16 61
B. Zapata Miralles (ESP) d I. Marchenko (UKR) 63 76(2)
B. Nakashima (USA) d M. Huesler (SUI) 67(3) 64 76(3)
[Alt] A. Giannessi (ITA) d P. Gunneswaran (IND) 76(4) 61
[Alt] K. Coppejans (BEL) d C. Taberner (ESP) 62 61

Qualifying Singles – Second Round
Qualifying – [8] M. Janvier (FRA) d [3] J. Menezes (BRA) 75 61
Qualifying – [5] A. Vukic (AUS) d [4] Q. Halys (FRA) 64 36 64
Qualifying – [WC] M. Moraing (GER) d T. Etcheverry (ARG) 63 63
Qualifying – [WC] E. Kirkin (TUR) d [Alt] Z. Bergs (BEL) 26 63 64