Currently 352nd in the world ranking, João Sousa had a complicated task against the Italian Mattia Bellucci, 176th in the world ranking, having lost the first set by 7-5 (7-5), but turned around in the next two, which won by double 6-4, in two hours and 44 minutes.
« I have to emphasize the public’s support. They came in force, they supported me, they didn’t leave after a less successful first set and that made the difference. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting to feel that affection », said João Sousa, at the press conference that followed the meeting.
The player from Guimarães highlighted the presence of the public, after the appeal he made on Sunday, expressing his satisfaction at seeing the stadium almost full and people chanting his name.
« The environment I played in was incredible and that’s why I still play tennis », highlighted João Sousa, who, in the next round, will face the winner of the meeting between the Russian Alibek Kachmanov (327th) and the French qualifier Kenny de Schepper (420th).
In addition to João Sousa, two other Portuguese players won their respective commitments today, but to ensure their presence in the main frame, with Jaime Faria (516) beating the Ukrainian Aleksandr Braynin (765), by 6-4 and 7-5, and João Domingues (541) against compatriot Pedro Araújo (938), by 6-2, 4-6 and 6-0.
In the main frame, Jaime Faria and João Domingues will face, respectively, Frenchman Hugo Grenier (143rd and third pre-designated) and Kazakh Denis Yevseyev (340th and champion of a Challenger in Astana on Sunday).