By Florian Heer
(May 1, 2014) MUNICH – Thursday’s action at the BMW Open by FWU AG started in partly cloudy conditions with the second meeting of Andreas Seppi and Albert Ramos. The Spaniard won the only previous match between the two during the qualifying at the Paris Bercy Masters in 2010. Here in Munich, the Spaniard needed to battle through the qualification tournament and posted his first ever win in Munich when he defeated Lleyton Hewitt in first round on Tuesday. The tournament’s No. 7, Seppi, opened with a straight set victory over lucky loser Michael Berrer and is one out of only three remaining seeded players in the draw. The 30-year-old Italian was in control of the first set and even recovered from being two breaks down in the second. Seppi was often successful with his drop shots and capitalized on his break point chances winning 6-3, 6-4 in one hour and 27 minutes.
“I played in Munich two or three times before but I have never showed my best tennis here, so I often chose to play another tournament in the past. This year I wanted to give it another try and it seems to look better for me this time,” the happy Italian said afterwards. “I knew that I had to play aggressively today trying to hit close to the line. I think that this worked well in the opening set. In the beginning of the second, I made a couple of unforced errors but eventually I was able to find my rhythm back,” Seppi analysed today’s encounter.
The longer the day lasted, the better became the weather. Moreover, the 1st of May is Labour Day in Bavaria and the right time for local hero Tommy Haas to kick off his title defense in Munich. The German made his comeback to the court after a six-week injury. It is Haas’ eleventh appearance at the BMW Open with his debut dates back in 1998. On a fully packed Centre Court, the second-seeded German took on Alejandro Falla for the very first time on clay. All previous meetings between the two took place on hard courts with Haas leading head to head records 4-1 before the match. The German veteran was the more solid player throughout the encounter, capitalized on five of his seven break points, on the other hand the Colombian’s game was simply not efficient enough. Consequently, the 36-year-old from Hamburg advanced into the quarterfinal winning 6-2, 6-4 in 74 minutes.
“It was an important match and test for me today to see how it works on court with my shoulder and everything seems to be ok,” Haas said. “It was really nice today. Sun was shining, court was packed, my family is here and I won the match, so it couldn’t have been better. I’m very pleased with my performance today.”
“Seppi is a solid player, who has continuously improved over the years. I know that I have to get out there and I need to play good tennis but the outcome will depend on my own performance,” Haas said about his upcoming quarterfinal match against the Italian on Friday.
Top-seed Fabio Fognini was also in action on Day 4. The Italian, who is making his debut in Munich, has compiled a 16-4 record on clay this season, went up against another hometown hope Dustin Brown, for the first time. The encounter was highly-expected but only delivered from time to time. In the end, the world No. 13 showed his strength in the decisive moments and that he is the more complete player winning 7-6, 6-2 in only 65 minutes.
“Playing the first match at a tournament is always difficult. As I said yesterday playing against Dustin doesn’t make it easier. Sometimes he plays unbelievable and the other time, he misses a lot. Especially in the tie-break of the opening set, it was tough today with a lot of good rallies. He hit some unbelievable shots and then he gave me some points for free, that’s his game,” Fognini said afterwards.
“It was really nice playing out there, as it was bank holiday and many people came here to watch. It is my first time here in Munich. I went to the football stadium, did some things in the city and the weather is still nice. Hopefully it will remain like this for the next days as well,” the Italian said about Bavaria’s capital and added that in terms of football, he supports the team from his home town in Genoa.
Fognini’s next opponent was found in the match between Federico Delbonis and Tomaz Bellucci. Both players had met three times before always seeing the 23-year-old Argentine as the winner. On Thursday, it was only the second time that a match between the two went the distance and it was the first time, the Brazilian emerged victorious winning 5-7, 6-3, 6-2. Bellucci needed two hours and six minutes to advance into his second quarterfinal of the season.
Wednesday’s suspended match between Ricardas Berankis and Jürgen Melzer was completed. The Lithuanian saved two match points in the tie-break of the final set winning 7-6, 3-6, 7-6 in two hours 25 minutes.
Florian Heer travels the tennis tour with a focus on ATP Challenger events and the ITF Future Circuit! Follow his twitter account @Florian _Heer.
RESULTS – THURSDAY, 1 MAY 2014
Singles – Second Round
 F Fognini (ITA) d [WC] D Brown (GER) 76(4) 62
 T Haas (GER) d A Falla (COL) 62 64
 A Seppi (ITA) d [Q] A Ramos (ESP) 63 64
[Q] T Bellucci (BRA) d F Delbonis (ARG) 57 63 62
[LL] R Berankis (LTU) d J Melzer (AUT) 76(5) 36 76(6) – saved 2 M.P.
Doubles – Quarter-finals
 E Butorac (USA) / R Klaasen (RSA) d R Junaid (AUS) / J Nieminen (FIN) 63 64
 J Murray (GBR) / J Peers (AUS) d L Dlouhy (CZE) / M Pavic (CRO) 46 76(1) 10-6
D Brown (GER) / J Knowle (AUT) d L Hewitt (AUS) / M Matosevic (AUS) 64 63
SCHEDULE – FRIDAY, 2 MAY 2014
CENTRE COURT start 11:00 am
D Istomin (UZB) vs [Q] M Klizan (SVK)
Not Before 12:55 pm
 A Seppi (ITA) vs  T Haas (GER)
 F Fognini (ITA) vs [Q] T Bellucci (BRA)
Not Before 5:00 pm
[LL] R Berankis (LTU) vs [Q] J Struff (GER)
SZ start 11:00 am
Rudi Berger Cup – J Schnaitter (GER) vs M Oettle (GER)
Rudi Berger Cup –  S Prechtel (GER) vs M Engshuber (GER)
Not Before 3:00 pm
 E Butorac (USA) / R Klaasen (RSA) vs  J Murray (GBR) / J Peers (AUS)
MATCH COURT 3 start 3:00 pm
Rudi Berger Cup – V Gunther (GER) vs C Franzen (GER)
Rudi Berger Cup – A Erler (AUT) vs  T Sandkaulen (GER)