Ofner Ends Barrios Vera’s Run At Prague Open

Sebastian Ofner (photo: Florian Heer)

PRAGUE, May 5, 2023

Following last week’s ATP Challenger Tour tournament in Ostrava, the three-week clay-court swing in the Czech Republic has arrived in the capital city for the Advantage Cars Prague Open 2023. The €73,000 event is being held at the I. CLTK Praha, situated on the Štvanice island on the Vltava river.

On a sunny Friday with temperatures of more than 20 degrees Celsius, Sebastian Ofner headlined quarterfinals action when the 26-year-old Austrian snapped a 12-match winning streak of Tomas Barrios Vera. The World No. 133 from Chile has started his European campaign following two triumphs in Florianopolis, Brazil and San Luis Potosi, Mexico. After two more victories at the Prague Open over second-seeded Moldovan Radu Albot and home favourite Vit Kopriva, Barrios Vera was stopped by Ofner, who emerged victorious, winning 6-2, 7-5 on Court 2. The World No. 150 struck five aces, won 77 per cent of his first-service points to prevail after one hour and 22 minutes.

“The match was closer than the score might look like,” Ofner told Tennis TourTalk afterwards. “I was a break down in the second set but I always had the feeling that I am able to come back. I knew that it would be a tough match today. But I was focused right from the beginning and played some decent tennis today.”

Ofner, who struggled with several injuries in the past but is physically fit now, seems to feel comfortable in Prague, where he captured his third Challenger career title at last year’s Sparta Prague Open. “Same city, but different club. Nonetheless, I am happy with the level of game.” said Ofner, who will next take on Slovakian Lukas Klein, a 6-3, 7-5 winner over Zdenek Kolar from the Czech Republic in one hour and 45 minutes.

Stricker strikes back, sets Krajinovic clash

In the top half of the draw, No. 1 seed Filip Krajinovic eased past Dominik Koepfer from Germany 6-1, 6-2. The World No. 79 from Serbia dictated most of the rallies, saved all six break points he faced and capitalized on four of his own seven break-point chances to advance in 62 minutes.

Up next for Krajinovic will be Dominic Stricker. The 20-year-old Swiss rallied from a set down to outlast 20-year-old Czech Dalibor Svrcina 4-6, 6-1, 6-3. Stricker, who recently lifted his fourth Challenger career trophy in Rovereto, Italy, won 55 per cent of the total points played in a highly entertaining match to secure victory in one hour and 58 minutes.

“It was a difficult match against a player, who feels really well on clay and doesn’t give you a lot of opportunities,” Stricker told Tennis TourTalk. “Maybe I was more solid in the important moments but luck also played a role. We know each other from the Juniors and he is good guy.”

Stricker was supported by his new coach Dieter Kindlmann. “A lot has happened. I no longer work with Sven Swinnen. We parted on good terms and continue to have a good relationship. Didi was already at Swiss Tennis before and I am glad to have someone like him at my side. I won the title right away at our first tournament together but we also get along very well off the court. I like his attitude and what he wants to achieve with me,” the World No. 129 said.