22-Year-Old Downs Idol Monfils In Phoenix

22-Year-Old Downs Idol Monfils In Phoenix

A busy Thursday at the Arizona Tennis Classic saw Alexander Shevchenko score a win he won’t soon forget. The 22-year-old ousted French wild card Gael Monfils in the first round of the Phoenix Challenger 6-4, 6-7(2), 6-3.

After the fight, qualifier Shevchenko posted a message on Instagram sharing her admiration for the former World No. 6.

“An emotional match for me,” said Shevchenko. “[Gael] the reason I fell into the game.”

Shevchenko is coached by Gunter Bresnik, who has worked with such notable players as Boris Becker, Patrick McEnroe, Dominic Thiem, and fittingly—Monfils.

After sleeping in a 2-0 lead in the deciding set following rain that suspended play on Wednesday, Shevchenko held on to her momentum in the closing stages to advance to the Challenger 175 event.

In other opening-round action on Thursday, top seed Matteo Berrettini won 28 of 33 first serve points to defeat compatriot and lucky loser Mattia Bellucci 6-4, 6-4. The 2019 Phoenix Challenger champion will next meet Aussie qualifier Aleksandar Vukic on Friday afternoon.

ATP Challenger Tour

“I’m really happy to be here and get the win, good start,” said Berrettini. “I came here to last and play as many matches as possible.”

With the crowd behind him at the Phoenix Country Club, American Aleksandar Kovacevic fired on all cylinders en route to a 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(6) victory over Christopher O’Connell. Current World No. 104 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings, Kovacevic could rise to the Top 100 should he beat third seed Richard Gasquet.

Earlier in the day, eighth seed Emil Ruusuvuori outlasted Roberto Carballes Baena 6-3, 6-0. The Finn will face Quentin Halys in the second round.

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