Estonia's Mark Lajal through to round two of Challenger 75 in Tyler, Texas

Mark Lajal.
Mark Lajal. Source: UAMS Health Little Rock Open

Estonia's top men's tennis player Mark Lajal (ATP No. 311) started the ATP (Association of Tennis Professional) Tyler Challenger 75 tournament in Texas, USA with a first round victory over France's Antoine Escoffier (ATP No. 202) 6-2, 6-4.

Lajal got off to a flying start in this round one encounter against France's Antoine Escoffier in Tyler, Texas. The Estonian stormed into a 4-1 lead, before holding out for a 6-2 first set victory over the Frenchman.

Lajal also started set two strongly, breaking Escoffier's serve early, only for his opponent to respond in kind. But, with the scores tied at 4-4, the Estonian then won the next two consecutive games without conceding a point, taking the match and confirming his place in the round of 16.

Escoffier will no doubt be sick of the sight of the Estonian, with the two also having faced each other a week ago in the semi-finals of the Challenger 75 tournament at Little Rock. Lajal won that encounter too, before going on to defeat Kazakhstan's Beibit Zhukayev (ATP No. 325) in the final, in what is the biggest victory of the Estonia's career to date.

Next up for Lajal is Peter Gojowczyk (ATP No. 333) of Germany in the round of 16. In his first round tie, Gojowczyk defeated the USA's Bruno Kuzuhara (ATP No. 633), 7-5, 6-2.

The match will be the first competitive meeting between the two players.

The ATP Challenger is the second tier of men's professional tennis, a step up from the ITF tournaments and one below the ATP tournaments.

Starting from this season, the ATP has made some changes to its Challenger categories. While previously Challenger 125 was the highest, Challenger 175 has now been introduced, along with Challenger 100, Challenger 75 and Challenger 50 competitions. The category numbers indicate how many ATP ranking points are awarded to the tournament winner.


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Editor: Michael Cole

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