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Hanescu Makes Winning Start In ATP Challenger Tour Finals

Sao Paulo, Brazil

Hanescu© Agência InovafotoVictor Hanescu lost serve just once in his opening round robin match.

Romania’s Victor Hanescu made a smooth transition from clay to indoor hard courts, opening proceedings at the ATP Challenger Tour Finals on Tuesday in Sao Paulo with a 7-6(5), 7-6(5) win over Slovenian Aljaz Bedene. The No. 3 seed saved 11 of the 12 break points faced on serve and won six more points than the fifth-seeded Bedene in the two hour, 17-minute encounter.

The 31-year-old Hanescu finished first in the 2012 ATP Year-To-Date Challenger Rankings, playing solely on clay courts. He compiled a 40-8 record on the surface, winning three titles from six finals.

Also in Yellow Group round-robin action, second-seeded Italian Paolo Lorenzi capitalised on four of his five break points to dismiss No. 8 seed Gastao Elias of Portugal 7-5, 6-2 in one hour and 30 minutes. Lorenzi recently moved up to a career-high No. 63 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings after reaching back-to-back ATP Challenger Tour finals in Medellin (d. L. Mayer) and Guayaquil (l. to L. Mayer).

A second Romanian, Adrian Ungur, won his opening round-round match Tuesday. The No. 6 seed finished strong to defeat fourth-seeded Spaniard Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 in Green Group action. Similar to his countryman, Ungur is playing his first hard-court tournament on the Challenger circuit this season. 

Argentine Guido Pella, the No. 7 seed, upset Brazilian top seed Thomaz Bellucci 4-6, 7-6(5), 7-5 in the final match Tuesday. Pella rallied from down 1-4 in the third set, prevailing in two hours and 53 minutes.

The ATP Challenger Tour Finals features the top seven players in the 2012 ATP Year-To-Date Challenger Rankings (determined by players’ best 10 Challenger results of the season) plus one wild card in a round-robin tournament. German Cedrik-Marcel Stebe won the inaugural event last year.

Singles Draw & Group Standings (PDF) | Official Tournament Website

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