The second day of the European Open is over. Super Tuesday promised to provide fireworks in the Lotto Arena and yes, the audience got more than value for money today.
Ruben Bemelmans (ATP-110), who reached the semi-finals last year, was not able to cope with an excellent playing Gaël Monfils (ATP-38): 6-0 and 6-3 was the hard verdict. The Belgian doubles pair Sander Gillé (ATP D-87) and Joran Vliegen (ATP D-95), strongly encouraged by their numerous fans, lost the battle against the well-tuned Spanish duo Feliciano Lopez (ATP D-29) and Jaume Munar (ATP D-257).
Between both matches defending champion Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (ATP-75) also managed to qualify for the second round. Argentine Guido Pella (ATP-65) made it very difficult for him, but after a real titanic battle it was the Frenchman who won the encounter with 7-5, 5-7 and 7-6 (5). Tsonga, overjoyed with his first victory after months of injury, can now prepare for a duel with Monfils.
In the singles, Jan-Lennard Struff (ATP-58), Ilya Ivashka (ATP-97), Albert Ramos-Vinolas (ATP-64) and Gilles Simon (ATP-32) also reached the second round.
The fact that the Lotto Arena was quite full all day was probably also due to the fact that, next to an attractive match schedule, a School Day was also organised. Several Antwerp schools came to follow the first match of the day at centre court. However, for fifteen pupils it became an extra unique experience: they were selected for a guided tour behind the scenes and as journalist for a day they could fire their questions at none other than Richard Gasquet (ATP-28) during a real Kids Press Conference.
The sympathetic 32-year-old Frenchman did not immediately get back from questions like “What is your secret weapon?”, but he managed to charm the young journalists with a few revelations. The young reporters found out that a top tennis player like Gasquet quickly wears out more than fifty rackets a year, and that pasta – two hours before the game – is the best guarantee against a hunger attack.
Tomorrow it will be Star Wednesday at the European Open. The Belgian Davis Cup doubles pair Bemelmans (ATP D-377) and Joris De Loore (ATP D-283) will be in action, but also class acts Gasquet and Milos Raonic (ATP-20) will enter the field. In other words, it promises to be another day filled with top tennis.
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