Photo: Robert Pleško


At the start of the qualifications for the third edition of the ATP Challenger Split Open, the young Croatian tennis player Božo Barun created a sensation by knocking out the No 4 seed Gian Marco Moroni from Italy in a tense match.



After two hours and 25 minutes of great fighting, Barun celebrated the biggest victory of his career with 6:3, 2:6, 7:6 (4). For the 20-year-old member of Resnik, who received an invitation from the organizers, this is his first victory at the ATP level, since he normally plays in ITF tournaments and does not even have an official ATP ranking yet.


At the start of the qualifications for the last tournament in Split, Barun had 4:0 against the later finalist Blaž Kavčič, but he still lost, but he started well against Moroni. He took the first set, lost the second and dropped a 4-1 lead in the third. However, he did not give in and with a braver game in the "tiebreak" he deservedly defeated the favoured 245th tennis player in the world rankings. To enter the main tournament, Barun will play against Slovak Lukas Klein on Monday.


The other Croats did not even take the set in the qualifications. Viktor Galović had no chances against Zdenek Kolar (6:1, 6:4), yesterday's semifinalist Kacper Žuk defeated Mili Poljičak (6:3, 6:2), and slightly stronger resistance in the second set was not enough for Fran Ninčević to surprise against Tristan Lamasine (6:1, 7:5). Yesterday's second semifinalist Andrea Collarini passed to the final round of qualifications, as well as Mirza Bašić and Matteo Viola.


The remaining qualifying matches are played on Monday, and the main tournament begins as well. Our two representatives, Duje Ajduković and Nino Serdarušić, will take action. Ajduković will play against Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis in the second match at 10:30 am on the Central Court, while Serdarušić will play against Belgian Kimmer Coppejans in the fourth and last match on Court 3. As we said, Barun is also playing with Klein at 10:30 on Court 3.


ATP CHALLENGER SPLIT OPEN, 1. qualifying round
Collarini (Arg, 1) – Lenz (Nje) 5:2, predaja Lenza
Bašić (BiH) – Wu (Tpe, 5) 6:3, 6:2
Žuk (Polj, 2) – Poljičak (Hrv, WC) 6:3, 6:2
Lamasine (Fra, 7) – Ninčević (Hrv, WC) 6:1, 7:5
Kolar (Češ, 3) – Galović (Hrv) 6:1, 6:4
Viola (Ita, 6) – Karlovski (Rus) 6:2, 6:2
Barun (Hrv, WC) – Moroni (Ita, 4) 6:3, 2:6, 7:6 (4)
Klein (Svk, 8) – Moraing (Nje) 4:6, 6:3, 6:3


Schedule for Monday, April 12th
Center court (from 10:30 am)
Kval.: Kolar (Češ) – Viola (Ita)
Kokkinakis (Aus) – Ajduković (Hrv)
Safwat (Egi, 4) – Bourgue (Fra)
Muller (Fra) – E. Ymer (Šve)
Court 3 (from 10:30 am)
Kval.: Barun (Hrv) – Klein (Svk)
Brown (Nje) – Horansky (Svk)
Bolt (Aus) – Domingues (Por)
Coppejans (Bel, 5) – Serdarušić (Hrv)
Court 4 (from 10:30 am)
Kval.: Žuk (Polj) – Lamasine (Fra)
Kval.: Collarini (Arg) – Bašić (BiH)
Ilkel (Tur) – Couacaud (Fra)