#NextGenATP Van Assche Makes Confident Start In Bastad

Frenchman is sixth in Pepperstone ATP Live Next Gen Race
July 17, 2023
Linda Carlsson / Nordea Open
Luca Van Assche en route to straight-sets victory on Monday in Bastad. By ATP Staff

Luca Van Assche continues to find his feet on the ATP Tour.

The #NextGenATP Frenchman claimed the fifth tour-level victory of both his career and the 2023 season Monday by downing home wild card Dragos Nicolae Madaras 7-6(2), 6-4 at the Nordea Open in Bastad. Van Assche prevailed in a topsy-turvy first-round battle featuring seven breaks of serve to book a second-round clash against defending champion Francisco Cerundolo.

“I felt good. It was a very close match against a good player,” said Van Assche. “He beat me two years ago, so I knew he was a tough player. It was a tough match, and at the end I was a little bit tight, so it was not my perfect game, but I managed to win this match and I am very happy.”

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Each of Van Assche’s ATP Tour wins have come at different events, with four triumphs on clay being complemented by a maiden grass-court win against George Loffhagen in Eastbourne. He defeated Stan Wawrinka in Banja Luka in April before pushing Novak Djokovic to three sets in the second round, while his 16-5 record this year on the ATP Challenger Tour also suggests the 19-year-old is growing increasingly accustomed to grinding out wins.

Currently sixth in the Pepperstone ATP Live Next Gen Race, Van Assche will hope to reach his maiden ATP Tour quarter-final by upsetting Cerundolo in Bastad, a result which would also boost his chances of qualifying for the season-ending 21-and-under Next Gen ATP Finals.

“I’m very happy to be here, my first time in Sweden,” said Van Assche. “I’m looking forward to the second round against the defending champion. It will be a tough match, so I will just prepare and be ready for it.”

Thiago Monteiro also made a winning start in Bastad on Monday. The No. 122-ranked Brazilian defeated Daniel Elahi Galan 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 in Sweden for his eighth tour-level win of the year. The 29-year-old Monteiro, who reached his sole ATP Tour quarter-final of 2023 so far on the clay of Santiago in February, will meet fifth seed Alexander Zverev or Alex Molcan in the second round.

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