Lukas Lacko outmuscles Potito Starace in the opening round – PBZ Zagreb Indoors 2012
Slovakian challenger, Lukas Lacko, got the better of Potito Starace of Italy in three sets at the PBZ Zagreb Indoors 2012 on Monday. He clobbered a 7-6(2), 6-7(4), 6-3 victory against the Italian veteran to advance into the second round at this hard court tournament held in Zagreb, Croatia.
Ranked 97th in the South African Airways ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) World Rankings, Lacko required three long sets to overwhelm the Italian in their first meeting. After earning the glory at this two hour and 13-minute battle, the Slovak booked a spot in the round of 16.
After defending the only breakpoint he came across, Lacko comfortably swiped in entire serves. However, he failed to seek any break opportunity and dragged the set to a tie-breaker. Lacko outshined his opponent in it and bagged the opener with a 7-6(2) win.
The 30-year-old Starace stayed calmed in the second set and held his serve in the opening game. The Italian maintained consistency in his game and brushed off all three breakpoints he encountered to keep his entire serves. Apart from failing to find any break chance, he dragged the set to a tie-breaker and dominated in it to seal the equaliser with a 7-6(4) success.
The match could go either way at this point and the person who raised the bar of his game was the Slovakian rising star. He drew the first blood in the second game and later held entire serves without facing any barrier to clinch the decider with a 6-3 score line. Lacko formulated a poor first serve share but spectacularly clicked 11 out of 13 points on it.
The 24-year-old will square off against the winner of the match between second seed, Alex Bogomolov Jr., and a local wild card entrant, Dino Marcan.
Awaiting Lacko in the second round is the top seed and the home favourite, Ivan Ljubicic. The local star battled past the Slovakian challenger, Karol Beck, in a three set thriller to reach this spot. He fired 16 aces and produced a better first serve share of 70 percent in contrast with the Slovak’s 51 percent. The Croat also lost his serve once but capitalised on one out of two break opportunities, ultimately sealing the deal with a 7-6(5), 3-6, 6-3 victory in two hours and 18 minutes.
The Bosnia and Herzegovina-born Ljubicic will next face the conqueror of the match between German competitor, Michael Berrer, and the Swiss qualifier, Marco Chiudinelli.