NUR-SULTAN – The first day of the Astana Open ATP 250 finished on Sept. 19, as the Kazakh capital hosts the event through Sept. 26. Nur-Sultan was one of four new ATP 250 events added to the 2020 provisional schedule, as tennis continued its return to schedule following the suspension of the season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Three Kazakh tennis players were on the court on the first day – Denis Yevseyev, Dmitry Popko, and Grigoriy Lomakin.
DAY 1: 1st Round Qualifying
Evgeny Donskoy vs Andrea Vavassori 7:6(4), 6:2
Matthew Ebden vs Jurij Rodionov 7:5, 6:4
Maxime Cressy vs Bernard Tomic 6:3, 2:1 (RET)
Marc Polmans vs Gian Marco Moroni 2:6, 7:5, 4:1 (RET)
Denis Yevseyev vs Illya Marchenko 6:4, 6:4
Elias Ymer vs Grigoriy Lomakin 6:3, 6:2
Dmitry Popko vs Simon Anthony Ivanov 6:2, 6:3
Pavel Kotov vs Kacper Zuk 6:2, 6:3.
“A brief loss of concentration cost Dmitry his advantage at the beginning of the second game, but he rebounded quickly. All in all, a confident victory – 6:2, 6:3. It is not bad at all – a strong opening for Popko at his home ATP tournament. For half a year he played clay tournaments, taking a moment to qualify for the grass-court Wimbledon and the hard-court US Open. So he had to get used to the surface of the National Tennis Center before more serious matches,” said well-known tennis commentator Sergey Deryabkin.
Popko, 21, is a Russian-born tennis player from Kazakhstan. He has a career-high ATP singles ranking of 167 achieved on Feb. 24, 2020. Popko, who represented Kazakhstan at the Davis Cup, also has a career-high ATP doubles ranking of 304 achieved on May 1, 2017.
On Monday, Sept. 20, he is scheduled to play against Matthew Ebden. a South African-born Australian professional tennis player.
In another match the same day, Kazakhstan’s Denis Yevseyev, 28, beat Illya Marchenko with a score of 6:4, 6:4.
“I can’t say that this is the best moment of my life, but it’s definitely one of the best,” stated the 28-year-old, who has made steady progress at the Challenger Tour level. “I’ve never played at this kind of event before. This experience for me is something that I can’t describe. I’m really happy, I hope this was not my last win here.”
Grigoriy Lomakin, another Kazakhstan player, lost 6:3, 6:2 to Swedish player Elias Ymer.
On Monday, Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin, Alexander Bublik, and Timofey Skatov will appear in the first round of the main draw of the Astana Open singles.
In the coming weeks, Nur-Sultan will be in the spotlight for the world of international tennis, as the capital is scheduled to host the WTA (Women’s Tennis Association) 250 tournament, from Sept. 27 through Oct. 2.