Botic Battles For Antwerp Win
Botic van de Zandschulp captured the tennis world's attention with his impressive run to the US Open quarter-finals, and the Dutchman has taken full advantage of his momentum.
After qualifying for his first ATP Masters 1000 main draw in Indian Wells, van de Zandschulp made a good start to his European Open on Monday in Antwerp, where he battled past Australian Alexei Popyrin 6-4, 3-6, 6-0 after one hour and 36 minutes.
"It's still a little bit different, but trying to get used to it," van de Zandschulp said in his on-court interview of the attention on him. "It's going better every match."
The 26-year-old will next play fifth seed Reilly Opelka or #NextGenATP American Jenson Brooksby.
In other action, Arthur Rinderknech’s career-best season continued he moved past Argentine Federico Delbonis 6-4, 6-4 to reach the second round in Antwerp.
The Frenchman had not earned one tour-level victory before this year, but has now triumphed 15 times at this level in 2021. The 26-year-old won 85 per cent (29/34) of his first-serve points against Delbonis to advance after one hour and 31 minutes.
“I am really pleased with the win,” Rinderknech said. “There were some crazy points here and there and sometimes they didn’t go my way. These kinds of points can change the match but I really tried to stay focused and I am pleased I was able to close out the match.”
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Rinderknech, who is making his debut in Antwerp, now leads Delbonis 2-0 in their ATP Head2Head series. The World No. 65 will next face eighth seed Dusan Lajovic, who eliminated wild card Richard Gasquet 7-6(3), 6-1.
Earlier this year, the Frenchman reached the semi-finals in Kitzbühel and also enjoyed runs to the last eight in Marseille, Lyon, Bastad and Gstaad.
Also on Monday, #NextGenATP Americans Brooksby and Brandon Nakashima booked their places in the main draw in Antwerp. Brooksby overcame Norbert Gombos 6-4, 6-2, while Nakashima downed Pierre-Hugues Herbert 6-2, 6-4.