Fils begins Bordeaux Challenger campaign; Murray, Wawrinka fall

Darderi, Fognini advance in Turin
May 16, 2024
Arthur Fils defeats Botic van de Zandschulp on Thursday at the BNP Paribas Primrose.
BNP Paribas Primrose
Arthur Fils defeats Botic van de Zandschulp on Thursday at the BNP Paribas Primrose. By ATP Staff

Top seed Arthur Fils began his title quest Thursday at the ATP Challenger Tour 175 event in Bordeaux, France, where former Top 10 players Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka fell in the second round.

Fils produced superb all-court coverage and unleashed his forehand in front of his home fans, treating them to a 6-2, 4-6, 6-1 victory against Botic van de Zandschulp. The 19-year-old, who holds the top spot in the PIF ATP Live Race To Jeddah, will meet Thanasi Kokkinakis in Friday's quarter-finals at the BNP Paribas Primrose.

A finalist at last year's Next Gen ATP Finals presented by PIF, Fils is aiming for a return trip to the 20-and-under event, held in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia from 18-22 December.

Fellow #NextGenATP teen Shang Juncheng continued his quest for a Top 100 debut in Monday's PIF ATP Rankings by rallying past Roberto Carballes Baena 1-6, 6-4, 6-2. The Chinese lefty is up to No. 97 in the PIF ATP Live Rankings.

Three-time major champions Murray and Wawrinka each lost in straight sets Thursday. Frenchman Gregoire Barrere upset Murray 6-4, 6-2 and Pedro Martinez downed Wawrinka 6-4, 6-4. Daniel Evans ousted Harold Mayot 6-3, 7-6(3) and Roberto Bautista Agut was a 7-6(2), 6-4 winner against Taro Daniel.

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Turin Challenger
It was a perfect day for an Italian quartet at the Piemonte Open Intesa Sanpaolo. Fifth seed Luciano Darderi, who defeated Argentine Camilo Ugo Carabelli 6-4, 6-3, led a group of four home favourites to advance in Turin, including Fabio Fognini, Francesco Passaro and Francesco Maestrelli, who all reached the round of 16.

"The first match of a tournament is always complicated, especially after a few rainy days like the past ones," said Darderi, who arrived in Turin after reaching the third round in Rome. "It was a tough battle and I'm happy with how I managed to win it. Given the slow conditions, I tried to mix my game, going to the net and using dropshots."

The 36-year-old Fognini raced past lucky loser Giulio Zeppieri 6-2, 6-3 to set a second-round meeting against third seed Matteo Arnaldi. Passaro overcame Daniel Elahi Galan 6-2, 6-7(6), 6-2 and the qualifier Maestrelli beat countryman Mattia Bellucci 6-4, 6-2.

Turin's top seed Lorenzo Musetti will begin his tournament Friday, when he goes against either David Goffin and Juan Pablo Varillas, who will compete not before 11 a.m. Central European Time with the winner returning to court later to face the World No. 29.

<a href=''>Fabio Fognini</a> greets fans following a first-round victory at the Turin Challenger.
Fabio Fognini greets fans following a first-round victory at the Turin Challenger. Credit: Mike Lawrence/ATP Tour

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