Pawel Cias hadn’t played a Challenger event since the 2019 Pekao Szczecin Open, where he managed to reach the third round by upsetting Peter Torebko and Alessandro Giannessi. Cias has been playing this event since 2010, scoring three main draw wins. Besides the aforementioned two, he also beat the odds to defeat Andrea Arnaboldi.
Traditionally, one of the main draw wild cards goes to the winner of the National Polish Championships. Cias took that route three times, but fell short to one of the best juniors in the world, Maks Kasnikowski, in the 2021 edition.
The organizers decided to award him a wild card anyway, on the basis of a very strong performance in the Lotos PZT Polish Tour, which is a series of ITF events held in Poland over the summer. Cias took part in four of them, finishing runner-up at 25K Poznan and never losing prior to the quarterfinals. “It means a lot because I got rewarded for my hard work. The previous year was wasted because of COVID-19. If I win a 15K from the qualifying, I have to play eight matches to win ten points, which is why I’ll get for one win here,” said the Pole at his press conference.
Pawel Cias Strikes Again
On Monday, Cias managed to make the most out of the opportunity by taking out World No. 198 Vit Kopriva 6-2 4-6 6-4. The Pole initially led 6-2 4-1 and looked in complete control of the match, before the recent Gstaad semifinalist got back on the scoreboard and raced to seven games in a row. “In the second set I had a brief moment where I thought that the advantage is so huge, the match will finish itself. But tennis doesn’t work like that,” said the 27-year-old.
The deciding set was a nervy thriller, with Cias ultimately coming out on top by staying really solid off the baseline. It’s his third best win ranking-wise, behind the ones over Arnaboldi and Giannessi. “This win is the most valuable to me because of how well Vit has been playing recently. The match was really tough, but despite being down a break in the third set, I managed to come back.”
Two years ago Cias found himself in a tough financial situation. He couldn’t afford to travel to international events, and even had to sold his car to keep competing. His run at Szczecin Challenger two years ago helped him attract a sponsor. “I’ve got support from the company Medicavera, which is situated here in Szczecin, and that’s how I’m able to play here. I had health issues earlier in the year, but last months were very intense.”
Cias will take on Stefano Travaglia in the second round. It will be his first opportunity to test himself against a Top 100 opponent. To have a chance, he’ll need to step out of his comfort zone and use his explosive forehand aggressively even on the key points.
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materiały prasowe Pekao Szczecin Open