Sofia Open: Vasek Pospisil outlasts Ilya Marchenko
Vasek Pospisil is through to round two (Photo:

Vasek Pospisil is through round one of the Sofia Open after battling past Ilya Marchenko in three sets 6-2, 5-7, and 7-6. 

Pospisil dominates the first set : 

The Canadian got off to a fast start winning the opening service game with ease and putting pressure on the Ukrainian right away with his big serve and powerful groundstrokes. From the getgo, we knew this was going to be a battle of the baseliners with long rallies dictating most of the points.

Unfortunately for Marchenko, he seemed to be struggling early on especially with his serve and after the Vernon, BC native earned a breakpoint winning a great rally he would double fault to give Pospisil the early 2-0 lead.

After holding serve to consolidate the break, the world number 74 had a chance to go up a double break but the 216th player in the world did a good job saving breakpoints forcing the error from his Canadian opponent.

Marchenko would eventually hold serve and went on the attack afterward to try and get the break back as he earned two breakpoints on the Canadian serve but the Freeport, Bahamas resident saved the first one with a great forehand winner and the second one with a big serve that the Donestk resident couldn't return.

The set stayed on serve until the Ukrainian was serving to stay in the first set at 2-5 and a couple of errors gifted the Canadian two setpoints. He would only need one to break and take the first set 6-2 after another unforced error from the world number 216.

Marchenko responds

Once again the Canadian had breakpoints early in the set setting one up with a beauty of a winner that went down the line. The Ukrainian saved it right away winning a great rally.  He would hold serve and we wouldn't see another breakpoint until 2-3 when Marchenko would once again double fault to give Pospisil another chance to break.

The world number 216 would once again come up big saving it forcing the error from the Vernon, BC native, and held serve. In the next game, it was the Canadian turn to feel a little pressure on serve as the Ukrainian was looking for that crucial break. 

He had two chances on the Pospisil serve but the Canadian would serve two big bombs that he had no chance at returning and hold serve once again. The world number 74 once again played a tight service game and an untimely double fault gave the world number 216 a chance to break and serve for the set.

He did just that breaking the Canadian serve as Pospisil would send a ball into the net on breakpoint and Marchenko took a 6-5 lead and served out the second set to take it 7-5.

Pospisil breaks through : 

The beginning of the third set was pretty routine with both players holding serve until 1-2 when the Canadian would call for the trainer and take a medical timeout to have some work done on his shoulders and neck.

The medical timeout seemed to work as he had no issues afterward holding serve until we reached 4-4 and that's when Marchenko earned the first breakpoint of the set. He broke serve to win a long intense rally with a great forehand winner to take a 5-4 lead.

The Canadian responded immediately earning three breakpoints and breaking right back to go back on serve at 5-5 after the Ukrainian would send a ball into the net. Marchenko wasn't going to go away quietly and the next game conjured up two more break points but the Canadian did a good job saving them with his big forehand.

He held serve and ultimately the set and the match would be decided by a tiebreaker. In that breaker, Marchenko got off to a very fast start jumping out to a 4-0 lead, and the Canadian was in trouble of a potential upset.

The world number 74 went back to work and won four points off the trot playing some great tennis to keep himself alive in the match. He eventually got the break to go up 6-5 winning a grueling rally before Marchenko would make the untimely error. Pospisil would serve it out with a big serve to set up a round-two encounter with Jan-Lennard Struff on Tuesday night.

Day 2 recap :

It was a busy day on the second day of the tournament with seven matches being played on two courts. Egor Gerasimov beat qualifier Viktor Troicki in three sets 6-3, 3-6, and 6-3 to set up a second-round match with Frenchman Adrian Mannarino who beat Slovak Martin Klizan in three sets as well 3-6, 6-1, and 7-5.

Aslan Karatsev beat Taro Daniel 7-6, and 6-1 while Nikoloz Basilashvili the number seven seed was ousted by Marc-Andrea Huesler of Switzerland. We saw another upset in the night session as the number eight Marin Cilic fell to the Czech wild card Jonas Forejtek 6-3 and 6-2.

Finally, we saw another Bulgarian playing on home soil as Dimitar Kuzmanov was beaten in three sets by the Italian Salvatore Caruso.