But Yuri Rodionov narrowly exited the round of 16 in the Bulgarian capital.
A win and a defeat for the current best and third best player in Austria on Wednesday at the Sofia Open. Sebastian Offner has reached the quarterfinals of the ATP Tour in the ATP 250 backstroke hard court event for the third time this season after Båstad (Sweden) in July and the semifinal in Astana (Kazakhstan) at the beginning of October. Seventh-seeded Styria (ATP 44) also won his second match against Australian Christopher O’Connell (ATP 66), after a fight that lasted 2:15 hours, 6:7 (6), 6:4, 6:2 decision. He remains the only ÖTV representative in the race. Jurij Rodionov defended himself against eighth seed Marton Fucsovics in the round of 16 in just four minutes less. But Lower Austria (ATP 110) had to narrowly admit defeat to Hungary (ATP 47) 6:3, 4:6, 1:6.
Offner had the upper hand over O’Connell just three weeks ago at the ATP 500 tournament in Tokyo by scores of 6:7 (2), 7:6 (5), 7:5. He also narrowly won in Sofia. The 27-year-old surrendered the first set, after initially saving four break points at 2:3 and destroying two set points at 5:6, after leading 5:2 and 6:4 in the tiebreak and wasting two set points. . Due to losing serve at the start of the second round, he was already trailing by 0:2, 1:3 and 2:4 when he managed to turn things around by 16:4 points. In the third section he took the only break chance in the second game long and finally broke O’Connell again after fighting for the win. Now he is awaited by Frenchman Adrian Mannarino, seeded second (25th in the ATP), to whom he lost 4:6, 2:6 in the semi-finals of Astana. The match is scheduled to take place on Thursday at five o’clock in the evening, Cairo time.
Rodionov still has to worry about Melbourne 2024
Rodionov had already lost to Fuksovics in Stuttgart 2022 after leading the set 7:6 (5), 3:6, 4:6, and this was repeated in Sofia. He clearly won the first set with a break in the first and last game and all he had to do was fend off a break point at 2-1. But after he missed one in the second round at 2:1 and dropped serve after a fight and a game ball at 3:3, the match turned. The 24-year-old trailed the decision from the start, after leading 30-0 and 40-30, a double break followed to make the score 1:4, and a re-serve opportunity remained unused. Shortly afterwards, Fucsovics was able to achieve another success. Rodionov mourned on social media after missing another step towards the main competition in the Australian Open: “Unfortunately, it was not enough today.” In order to achieve this with a target end-of-year finish in the top 100, “I will be returning home two days before the start of my final series of tournaments in Japan.” Currently, the direct ATP rankings place him at number 105.
Alexander Erler and Lucas Midler were also unlucky in the doubles competition late on Wednesday evening. The Tyrolean and Lower Austrian teams lost in the first round as two teams in fourth place to a combination of Gonzalo Escobar (Ecuador) and Alexander Nedovysov (Kazakhstan) 5:7, 2:6. At 5:4, the two were unable to capitalize on the only two breaks and set points in the first set for long – and were forced to drop serve in the next game. In the second set, Erler/Midler were no longer able to gain ground and conceded breaks after match balls to make the scores 1:2 and 1:4. With this, Escobar/Nedovysov achieved revenge for the Generali Open Kitzbühel, where Erler/Midler prevailed 6:4, 6:4 in the final in front of an enthusiastic home crowd in August.
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