Skupski loses in Bucharest; week’s hope rest with Marray and Fleming
By Philip James
Victor Hanescu/Gilles Muller def Ken Skupski/Xavier Malisse 4-6, 6-1, 10-8
Home-favourite, Hanescu, and Muller won the ensuing Champion’s Tie-break 10-8 and with it the match to progress to round two of the ATP250 clay court tournament.
Liverpool-born Skupski, 30, was the only doubles specialist on the court, with the other three men also competing in the singles draw.
Malisse is 54th in singles rankings but regularly plays doubles and is ranked 44th in that discipline, 18 places about Skupski.
Hanescu and Muller are ranked 55th and 68th respectively in singles and despite low doubles rankings were able to fight back to beat the British-Belgian team.
The Brits will be hoping avenge their second round defeat at the hands of the Dutch-Pakistani combo in Monte Carlo last week.