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Beck Upsets Bellucci; Stebe, Machado Score Yellow Group Wins

Sao Paulo, Brazil

Machado© Douglas DanielRui Machado moved to the top of the Yellow Group with a 2-0 match record.

World No. 105 Andreas Beck moved to the top of the Green Group with a 2-0 record at the inaugural ATP Challenger Tour Finals after beating home favourite Thomaz Bellucci 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 on Thursday in Sao Paulo.

"I felt very good on the court today," said Beck. "Thomaz also played well, but in the important moments I could step up. The crowd was good to me even though they were supporting him. Tomorrow I have to stay focused because nothing is defined yet."

The German withstood 13 aces from Bellucci to break the Brazilian wild card’s serve six times as he battled to victory in one hour and 56 minutes. The 25-year-old Beck has reached four ATP Challenger Tour finals this season, finishing runner-up at Kazan (l. to Copil), Bath (l. to Tursunov), Oberstaufen (l. to Brands) and Como (l. to Carreno-Busta).

"It was a tough match," admitted Bellucci. "He served really well and I couldn't get to read his serve and that was frustrating. When I managed to get more balls in the court he made some mistakes, but in the third set I couldn't reach him. Tomorrow, Klizan plays similar to Beck, but if I play good tennis I'll have the chance to win."

In other Green Group action, American Bobby Reynolds bounced back from his opening defeat to Bellucci by beating Slovakian Martin Klizan 6-2, 3-6, 6-1. World No. 121 Reynolds finished strongly, breaking serve twice in the final set to prevail in 86 minutes. Klizan, who lost to Beck on Wednesday, dropped to a 0-2 group record.

Cedrik-Marcel Stebe kept alive his chances of qualifying for the semi-finals by defeating fellow German Matthias Bachinger 6-4, 2-6, 6-4. The No. 103-ranked Stebe was beaten by Dudi Sela in his opening match a day earlier, but victory over his countryman saw him level at a 1-1 Yellow Group record.

The 21-year-old Stebe has enjoyed a significant rise up the South African Airways ATP Rankings this season. He began the year at World No. 375, but has climbed 272 places after winning two ATP Challenger Tour titles and reaching the final of a third.

Read Stebe Q&A | Watch Machado Interview

Portugal’s Rui Machado moved to the top of the Yellow Group after improving to a 2-0 match record with a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Sela. This season’s ATP Challenger Tour leader backed up his opening three-set win over Bachinger by breaking serve five times from 10 opportunities to claim victory over former Top 30 player Sela in just 58 minutes.

"Yesterday I had a tough match; I struggled in adapting to the court, but I fought a lot to be able to win," said Machado. "Today I had the same mentality and it went a little bit easier than I thought it would be and I played a lot better." 

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