New Zealand's top singles player Rubin Statham has continued his rich vein of form to reach the second round at the $75,000 ATP Challenger tournament in Leon in Mexico.
Having won through three rounds of qualifying to make the main draw, Statham has beaten 8th seed and world number 142 Marcelo Arevalo of El Salvador 5-7, 6-4,6-2 in 2hrs11.
Statham dominated for long periods of the match and converted 4 of 8 break point chances. He will face another qualifier in the second round, Roberto Quiroz of Ecuador who is ranked 280 in the world. Statham is currently 357 but a deep run in Leon will lift him back inside the top 300.
Meanwhile Artem Sitak opens his campaign at the ATP 250 tournament in Budapest tonight (NZT)
The Kiwi doubles player and his Dutch partner Wesley Koolhof meet top seeds Croatian Nikola Mektic and Austrian Alexander Peya in the first round.
Sitak is optimistic he and Koolhof can cause an upset.
"I have played them separately, never together and we know them well so have to come up with a good game plan. I feel this is the kind of tournament that everybody can win and it's not a big deal that they are playing the top seeds." Sitak said.
Sitak has very few points to defend during the clay court season and is eyeing a good run in Europe to push his ranking back up into the top 50.