No Top 15 players on the red dirt this week at the Skistar Swedish Open, where top-seeded Pablo Carreno Busta is already out, on Wednesday retiring against Russian Andrey Kuznetsov with an abdominal strain trailing 4-6, 7-6(5), 3-0.
“The key was not to give up until the end,” said Kuznetsov, who broke Carreno Busta when he served for the match. “I felt that I played during the whole match, in the first and second sets I had 14 break point chances, but converted only one. In the end I played well in the tiebreak, then I saw in the third set he couldn’t move or serve that well.”
Other seeds are Albert Ramos Vinolas, Pablo Cuevas, Karen Khachanov, Fernando Verdasco, Diego Schwartzman, David Ferrer and Horacio Zeballos.
The No. 3-seeded Cuevas was also upset Wednesday, falling to Swiss Henri Laaksonen 6-4, 6-3.
“I had to stay aggressive as he is one of the best players on clay,” said Laaksonen. “I’m really happy to win today. I had to go and try to win it.”
Safely into the third round were the No. 7 Schwartzman defeating Renzo Olivo 6-4, 6-1, and the No. 8 Ferrer grinding down Dustin Brown 6-2, 6-3.
Wildcards for the tournament went to former world No. 2 Tommy Haas and Swedes Elias and Mikael Ymer. Haas lost his opener to Argentine Facundo Bagnis 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-2. Elias Ymer lost to the two-time finalist Verdasco 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.
“I could have been more aggressive but I really felt I played with all my heart,” Ymer said. “I had a lot of energy going into the third set and that is a great feeling, when you know you can play every point with a great mindset and intensity.”
Withdrawing from the event were Nicolas Almagro, Jeremy Chardy, Steve Darcis, Richard Gasquet and Viktor Troicki. Ramos-Vinolas beat Verdasco in last year’s final.
Thursday’s highlights in Bastad include the No. 5 Khachanov vs. the unpredictable Ernests Gulbis, and the No. 9 Zeballos vs. Alexandr “The Dog” Dolgopolov.
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