Cologne Indoors starts with local surprise by qualifier

COLOGNE, Germany (AP) — Local qualifier Oscar Otte upset the seventh-seeded Jan-Lennard Struff 6-4, 6-3 at the Cologne Indoors on Monday, when spectator numbers were restricted due to rising coronavirus infections in the area.

The 142nd-ranked Otte hit five aces.

“It’s the coolest venue,” Otte said. “I’ve been to concerts here and now I’ve played here myself. My girlfriend was here, my best friends, too, just Mom and Dad couldn’t make it.”

Otte next faces Radu Albot, who defeated Pierre-Hugues Herbert 6-2, 4-6, 6-4.

American Steve Johnson rallied to upset the fifth-seeded Filip Krajinovic 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 and will next play Benoit Paire, who received a bye to the second round.

Mischa Zverev, the older brother of U.S. Open finalist Alexander Zverev, defeated Australia’s John Millman 6-1, 6-4.

Dennis Novak defeated another Australian, Jordan Thompson, 6-3, 6-3.

Three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray plays his opening game on Tuesday against Fernando Verdasco of Spain.

The Cologne Indoors is the first of two consecutive competitions the city is hosting as part of the ATP calendar rescheduled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Up to 800 people were permitted to attend on Monday, when around 500 showed up. There are likely to be fewer spectators permitted in the coming days, however, as the area has been deemed high-risk.

Germany’s soccer game against Switzerland is taking place with no fans on Tuesday in a bid to restrict rising infection numbers.

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