Schwartzman, Edmund, Young Progress Through qualifying @OpenNCA
Adam Addicott, Tennis Atlantic
The qualifying draw at the Open de Nice Cote D’Azur was full of talent with four top-100 players headlining the section.
The top seed was Diego Schwartzman, who defeated Grigor Dimitrov in the final of the Istanbul Open to win his first ATP title earlier this month. Living up to his top seed status, the Argentine reached the main draw by dropping just nine games in two matches. Starting his campaign against France’s Maxime Teixeira, Schwartzman saved 8/9 break points to during his 6-3, 6-3, triumph. Next up for the Argentine was world No.372 Dzmitry Zhyrmont, a player who best result this year was reaching the quarter-finals at the Bangkok challenger. The Belarusian was no match for the top seed as Schwartzman clinched a straight sets win after 67 minutes.
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Kyle Edmund’s route to the main draw was far more challenging as he started his Nice experience with a two-and-a-half-hour battle against 17-year-old French wildcard Elliot Benchetrit. Benchetrit is currently ranked 17th in the junior rankings and recently won a junior G1 tournament in Morocco. Edmund managed to avoid the shock upset by winning 6-7(3), 6-4, 6-4.
In the final round of qualifying, the Brit played world No.119 Marco Cecchinato. Winning 71% of his service points, Edmund booked his place in the main draw by dismissing the Italian 6-3, 6-4.
Donald Young overcame his disappointment of failing to qualify for last year’s event by producing two straight-sets wins at this year’s tournament. The 26-year-old has never won a title on clay, but has recently enjoyed some solid results on the Challenger tour. After reaching the semifinals at the Savannah Challenger, he reached the last eight in Tallahassee. Seeded third in Nice qualifying, the American began with a 6-4, 6-2, win over Serbia’s Miki Jankovic. In the second round Young faced French sixth seed Mathias Bourgue. Despite being broken twice in the match, the third seed saw off Bourgue 6-4, 7-5.
Taking the final qualifying spot was Russia’s Daniil Medvedev. Medvedev recently made headlines for the wrong reasons after being disqualified from a match for allegedly making racist remarks. He has since publicly apologised on his Facebook account about his behaviour. Back on the court, Medvedev was forced to play both of his matches on the same day in what was two marathon encounters. Facing Ecuador’s Giovanni Lapentti in the first round, the Russian sealed the match 3-6, 7-6(4), 6-4. Next the world No.265 played China’s Zhang Zhizhen, who stunned second seed Damir Dzumhur in his opening match. The Russian completed his route to the main draw by battling past the Chinese player 3-6, 6-2, 7-6(4), to reach his maiden main draw on the tour.