Evgeny Korolev downs Ilija Bozoljac in the opening round of the Status Athens Open
Apr 13. Bettor
By Christopher Mayers
23-year-old Evgeny Korolev from Kazakhstan proved too good for the Serb Ilija Bozoljac, who got defeated in the first round of the Status Athens Open at Athens, Greece on Monday. The Kazakh wound up his straight set victory 6-2, 7-6(5), in just one hour and twenty five minutes to advance one step further in the ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) Challenger Tour event.
The contest appeared a one-sided affair at the start but Bozoljac gradually gathered his pace and a close finish to the game was witnessed. The Serb was actually led down by his own mistakes and unforced errors. Although he fired four aces in the matchup, he spilled out five expensive double faults to fade away the advantage.
The Kazakh was impressive with his serve game and made the most out of it in the game. Though his 63 per cent of his first serve hit its target, he secured 29 out of 37 points on it, while his opponent collected 69 per cent first serve points. Korolev was equally good with his return game and nabbed 21 out of 30 second return points in the game.
Korolev had a ballistic start to the opener, breaking in the very first game to lead 2-0. His Serb opponent retaliated two games later, with a break point, only to be broken in the very next game to trail 2-5. The Kazakh bagged 77 per cent of his first serve points to take the competitive advantage over his opponent and pressurised Bozoljac to commit mistakes. The perplexed Serb crumbled under the intense match pressure and coughed plenty of unforced errors before submitting the first set to his superior opponent at 2-6.
The crowd at Athens anticipated that Korolev will wipe out the Serb rival with the utmost ease in the second set but it did not happen as such. Bozoljac uplifted his game and bounced back into the game with a tremendous effort. Errors kept leaking from his side but his points winning proficiency in the second set was appreciable. Bozoljac collected 19 of 25 first serve points and broke the Kazakh serve twice take the score to 6-6, imposing a decisive tie breaker.
Bozoljac eventually lost his steam in the tie breaker round and conceded two costly double faults, making a total of four in the second set. Korolev took the initiative and wrapped up the second set at 7-6(5) to come out as the winner.
Korolev will now have to compete against the fifth seed Slovak, Karol Beck in the second round of the Status Athens Open. Beck was victorious against the Estonian, Jurgen Zopp in the first round of the Challenger Tour event.