• Mayer, Lacko open on Day 1 in Zagreb

    1/31/11 4:13 AM | Ricky Dimon
    Mayer, Lacko open on Day 1 in Zagreb Florian Mayer and Lukas Lacko will take the court on Monday in Zagreb. They are set for meetings with Franco Skugor and Marsel Ilhan.

    (WC) Franco Skugor vs. (5) Florian Mayer

    Mayer, the No. 5 seed, will kick off the PBZ Zagreb Indoors on Monday afternoon when he goes up against Skugor. This will be the first career ATP-level encounter between the two players, however they have faced each other once on the Challenger circuit. Mayer dominated a 2009 meeting in Salzburg, Austria 6-2, 6-4. Skugor, a 23-year-old Croat, is toiling down at No. 184 in the rankings and obviously needed a wild card to get into the main draw of this event.

    Mayer has dealt with considerable physical problems in recent years, but he had a strong 2010 campaign and registers at 36th in the world. The German upset Nikolay Davydenko in the first round of the Australian Open before losing to Kei Nishikori. Mayer is in fine form having also reached the Brisbane quarterfinals and Sydney semis, so he should take this in straights.

    Lukas Lacko vs. Marsel Ilhan

    Lacko and Ilhan will be squaring off for the first time in their careers when the two 23-year-olds do battle in the Zagreb first round on Monday. The winner will have a tough task against No. 3 seed Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, but Lacko already knows a thing or two about bad draws this season. The Slovak had the misfortune of seeing Roger Federer on the other side of the net in the first round of the Aussie Open. Lacko also faced Rafael Nadal in the Doha second round, losing in three sets.

    Ilhan comes in 10 spots ahead of Lacko at No. 87 in the world. However, the Turk is not off to a good start in 2011. He has bowed out at the first stage of all three of his tournaments, falling to Xavier Malisse (Chennai), John Millman (Sydney qualifying) and Mikhail Youzhny (Australian Open). Based on current form, count on Lacko advancing in straight sets.

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