British number two Aljaž Bedene has reached his first main draw since switching from representing Slovenia after advancing through the qualifying stages of the Trophee Hassan II in Casablanca.
Agree with his decision to abandon his home country and establish himself as British tennis’ other Top 100 player alongside Andy Murray or not, Bedene has taken to his new nation with aplomb. Seeded first in the qualifying competition, his first win as a Brit came against France’s Maxime Chazal in straight sets and the pattern would continue throughout the weekend. He would go on to defeat Michael Linzer of Austria in the same way, before this morning finishing the job of qualifying with another dominant win, this time over Argentina’s Pedro Cachin, stopping him 6-2 6-2.
Although currently unclear who Bedene will go on to face in the first round proper of the Moroccan tournament, he has the chance of meeting eighth seed Diego Schwartzman or wildcard Nicolas Almegro of Spain. Whatever the first opponent, he will not be slated to face top seed Guillermo Garcia-Lopez until at least the semis, although a quarter-final match against Martin Klizan of Slovakia is a possibility.
Elsewhere, Heather Watson will be hoping to put her Miami Open disappointment behind her by taking on Croatia’s Donna Vekic in the first round of the Katowice Open, taking place from 3pm today. In the doubles, top pairing Jocelyn Rae and Anna Smith take up one of the slots in the main draw of the Katowice Open, but face a tough start to the week against top seeds Klaudia Jans-Ignacik (Poland) and Kristina Mladenovic (France). Unfortunately, the week is already over for Alexander Ward, who bowed out of the US Men’s Clay Court Championships in the first qualifying round with a straight sets loss to Argentinian Facundo Bagnis.