ÖTV: ATP Buenos Aires: Offner narrowly misses first-round victory

As for Austria's top spot, the monster plan continues. With clear goals.

After Austria's 4-0 individual victory in the Davis Cup in Ireland, Sebastian Offner could not make the immediate switch from indoor to outdoor clay at the Córdoba Open last week. The 27-year-old showed significant improvement in the new week, but it was not enough to feel a sense of victory in another ATP 250 event in Argentina, the second stop on the South American clay court tour. Styrian (ATP 38) had to defeat local hero Federico Correa (ATP 106) after a battle that lasted almost 2:59 hours after CET in the first main round of the IEB+ Argentina Open in the capital Buenos Aires on Tuesday evening. Narrow margin of 5:7, 6: Defeated by 4, 5:7. In doubles, he also lost his opening match against Marcelo Melo (Brazil) and Matve Middelkopf (Netherlands) with Italian Andrea Pellegrino on Monday 0:6, 3:6.

Offner had already held 1-0 and 3-2 break leads in the first round of their first ATP Tour clash with Correa, who was granted a special exemption for the semi-finals in Córdoba last week. However, he conceded the return twice and was unable to serve four game points at 6:6 to 5:6 before the South American hit a second set point. In the second set, he immediately broke again to make it 3-2, but Offner immediately countered and served out after feinting three break points. In the end, Ofner advanced twice, 4:3 and 5:4, hoping to reach the round of 16. However, he made several mistakes in the end, so Correa eventually came out on top. So far, Ofner's monster plan hasn't paid off. Of course, the big stops on his trip lie ahead: the ATP 500 tournaments in Rio de Janeiro (again on sand) and Acapulco (hard court) in the next two weeks. Two ATP Masters 1000 events await in Indian Wells and Miami.

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Ofner is aiming for the Olympics and the top 30 by the end of the year

“It's a very intense journey,” Ofner said two weeks ago at a media event in Schörfling am Attersee at the presentation of new sponsor KNV Heat Pumps. Then things get serious: after an extensive clay court season, the grass season follows, St. Mariner will compete in the Generali Open Kitzbühel (July 20 to 27) and then hopes to compete in the Olympics in Paris. Thanks to higher prize money income and new partners, he can now take his own physiotherapist on tour with him – something you “don't have a chance” to do if you're ranked lower. Ofner wants to recoup the increased costs with another successful season. The protégé of Wolfgang Thiem's ​​ATC Academy has a very clear criterion for judging it: “If I'm in the top 30.” Then one can talk about a truly successful season.

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