In the resumption of the match for the second round of the ATP 250 quali in Auckland, Thiago Monteiro completed the victory over the local guest Ajeet Rai and secured a place in the main draw. In a match that started early this Sunday and had two interruptions due to rain, Monteiro won by 6/7 (5-7), 6/3 and 6/4. He was leading the final set 5/3 when the match was suspended in the morning.
Number 1 in Brazil and 71st in the world, Monteiro already guarantees 12 more points in the ATP for breaking the Auckland quali. The quali campaign had two upset victories. He had beaten the German Daniel Altmaier by 3/6, 7/5 and 7/6 (8-6) on his debut.
“They were two very tough games, and in complicated conditions, because there were many delays due to rain. I went on and off the court three or four times yesterday. We stayed until 11 pm without finishing the second game. But in a way it was positive to get those two wins and get a little more confidence to start the year”, said Monteiro after the match.
The cearense started the season playing in the United Cup and faced two top 20 players, Casper Ruud and Matteo Berrettini. “It was an excellent experience, two very tough games. I played a good game against Berrettini, and in the second I ended up being forced and making a lot of mistakes”.
The 28-year-old from Ceara can earn another 20 points if he manages to win another one in the competition. His debut in the main draw will be against 21-year-old Czech Jiri Lehecka, ranked 81st and also coming from the quali. Lehecka won the only previous duel, played on clay in Kitzbuhel last year. “It will be a tough game, he’s also doing very well. I’m going to take that day off to train well and adjust the things that are necessary to continue adding victories here”.
Whoever wins the match between Monteiro and Lehecka will face the British Cameron Norrie, second seed and number 14 in the world, in the round of 16. The Brazilian won the only previous duel against Norrie, played precisely in Auckland, in early 2020.