Botic van de Zandschulp and Alejandro Davidovich Fokina faced each other in the first round of the European Open 2022 in Hamburg, but it was Fokina who prevailed in a high-energy encounter.
It was Davidovich Fokina’s return game that gave him victory in northern Germany, despite his serve being broken twice in each set. Six of the world No. 35’s six breaks of van de Zandschulp’s serve resulted in an 8-12 record versus top-ranked players this year.
With his victory over then-world No. 1 Novak Djokovic at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters in April, Davidovich Fokina made his maiden ATP Masters 1000 final appearance.
On grass at Queen’s Club in June, the Spaniard made it to the quarterfinals before losing in straight sets to van de Zandschulp. Davidovich Fokina now leads the ATP Head2Head series 2-1 after his victory on Monday in Hamburg.
After losing in the first round of his only previous appearance at the Hamburg Open in 2019, Davidovich Fokina won the tournament for the first time. Slovak qualifier Jozef Kovalik or 18-year-old German wild card Max Hans Rehberg are the likely opponents in the second round.
At the same time on Monday, Alex Molcan advanced to the second round of the Hamburg Open after beating local qualifier Marko Topo, 18, 7-5, 6-3.
When it came to serving, Molcan broke Topo’s serve three times in the 92-minute encounter and only dropped 11 points behind his own serve. Pablo Carreno Busta or Luca Nardi will play the Slovak in Germany, the fourth seed and defending champion.