Dubai: Slovakia’s Lukas Lacko avoided a date with world No 6 Tomas Berdych as the four qualifiers were drawn against their first-round opponents for the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships here on Sunday.
Lacko, 26, beat Russia’s Andrey Kuznetsov 6-2, 6-2 in Sunday’s second round qualifier to filter into the first round proper, where an ominous vacancy loomed beside Berdych’s name.
The world No 101 had previously been knocked out by Berdych in the second round of this event 6-1, 6-2 in 2012, so he was eager to dodge the Czech in the opening round. Instead, he will face world No 28 Dmitry Tursunov of Russia.
“I saw the draw for the qualifiers,” said Lacko before being drawn with eighth seed Tursunov. “No one is easier, all four guys are good players, maybe Berdych is the best one of them. I played him here two years ago and he’s a tough guy. So, I think I would have a better chance against the other guys.”
The short straw of a first round tie with third seed Berdych eventually fell to Romania’s Marius Copil, who won his second round qualifier against the Netherlands’ Jesse Huta Galung 6-4, 6-0.
Meanwhile, Romania’s Adrian Ungur was drawn with Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut after beating Greece’s Theodoros Angelinos 6-4, 6-2. The Netherlands’ Thiemo De Bakker beat Switzerland’s Marcos Chiudinelli 6-4, 6-4 to book himself into the first round, where he will play seventh seed Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany.
Elsewhere in the doubles second round qualifier, Nikolay Davydenko of Russia and Victor Hanescu of Romania beat Germany’s Benjamin Becker and New Zealand’s Artem Sitak 6-4, 5-7, 10-5. They will now play second seeds Rohan Bopanna of India and Aisam Ul Haq Qureshi of Pakistan in the first round.
Qualifiers (Men’s Singles)
Thiemo De Bekker bt Marco Chiudinelli 6-4, 6-4
Lukas Lacko bt Andrey Kuznetsov 6-2, 6-2
Adrian Ungur bt Theodoros Angelinos 6-4, 6-2
Marius Copil bt Jesse Huta Galung 7-6 (7/0), 7-5