Tag: egor gerasimov

ATP 250 wraps: Aussies bow out in Singapore as upsets take place in Montpellier

IT was a mixed bag of results on day two across the various ATP 250 events, as we recap the results as of publishing in Montpellier, Singapore and Cordoba.

A couple of experienced talents joined the list of outs from the Open Sud de France in Montpellier, with eighth seed Jan-Lennard Struff and Frenchman Gilles Simon both bundled out of the tournament. Struff went down to qualifier and compatriot Peter Gojowczyk in straight sets, losing 6-3 6-4 in one hour and 18 minutes, with the 144th ranked played topping his German counterpart who sits 107 placed above him in the world. Meanwhile Austrian Dennis Novak continued his strong start to the year with a solid three-set win over Simon. Novak needed a tiebreaker to get through the first set, before dropping away in the second, and then posting a win 7-6 1-6 6-3 to advance to the Round of 16.

In other results, wildcard Benjamin Bonzi won through in straight sets in the all-French clash against Lucas Pouille, getting up 7-6 6-2. Experienced Czech Jiri Vesely was far too good for a disappointing Mikael Ymer, winning 6-1 6-1, while in the final results, Dutch qualifier Tallon Griekspoor won 6-2 6-7 6-3 over American Marcos Giron in the clear best match of the day. It lasted two hours and 10 minutes with the players evenly matched until Griekspoor – who had saved all five break point opportunities from his opponent – broke for a third time to win. .

In the late game, the most talked about match took place on Court Patrice Dominguez with Belarusian Egor Gerasimov taking on Grand Slam winner and returning from injury Brit, Andy Murray. After a nail-biting first set tiebreaker (10-8), Gerasimov ran away with the contest in the second set to win 7-6 6-1 and book his spot in the second round.

OPEN SUD DE FRANCE ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

[Q] Peter Gojowczyk (GER) defeated [8] Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) 6-3 6-4
[WC] Benjamin Bonzi (FRA) defeated Lucas Pouille (FRA) 7-6 6-2
[Q] Tallon Griekspoor (NED) defeated Marcos Giron (USA) 6-2 6-7 6-3
Dennis Novak (AUT) defeated Gilles Simon (FRA) 7-6 1-6 6-3
Jiri Vesely (CZE) defeated Mikael Ymer (SWE) 6-1 6-1
Egor Gerasimov (BLR) defeated Andy Murray (GBR) 7-6 6-1

 

Over in Singapore, five matches were completed on day two, and it was not good news for the Australians with all three players on court unable to join day one winner, Alexei Popyrin in the Round of 16. Marc Polmans was the toughest to beat, forcing Japan’s Yasutaka Uchiyama to three sets before going down 6-4 2-6 6-4 in two hours and 18 minutes. Similarly, John-Patrick Smith also suffered a three-set loss, this time to Macedonian sixth seed Radu Albot who won 6-2 3-6 6-1.

James Duckworth was unable to really break down German Yannick Hanfmann in their match, with the latter triumphing in straight sets, 6-2 6-4 to advance to the next round of action. In the other two matches, Turkish qualifier Altug Celikbilek won against Japanese wildcard Shintaro Mochizuki. Celikbilek got up 6-0 6-4 convincingly, while American Maxime Cressy moved into the Round of 16 with a 7-6 6-2 victory over Chinese Taipei’s Jason Jung.

SINGAPORE ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

[6] Radu Albot (MCE) defeated [Q] John-Patrick Smith (AUS) 6-2 3-6 6-1
Maxime Cressy (USA) defeated Jason Jung (TAI) 7-6 6-2
Yannick Hanfmann (GER) defeated James Duckworth (AUS) 6-2 6-4
Yasutaka Uchiyama (JPN) defeated Marc Polmans (AUS) 6-4 2-6 6-4
[Q] Altug Celikbilek (TUR) defeated [WC] Shintaro Mochizuki (JPN) 6-0 6-4

 

The two lower ranked players at the Cordoba Open won through to the second round with hard-fought three sets wins over their respective opponents. Chilean wildcards Nicolas Jarry came from a set down to survive a nail-biting tiebreaker and then win in three against rising Spaniard Jaume Munar, 5-7 7-6 6-4. The match lasted a whopping two hours and 44 minutes with Jarry serving up seven aces, and winning 75 per cent of his first serve points, albeit off a lowly 54 per cent efficiency. Jarry’s was more efficient with 74 per cent of his first serves going in, but only capitalising on 63 per cent of them, as both players were broken five times.

In the other match, Jozef Kovalik also needed three sets to get past Daniel Elahi Galan, bouncing back from a disappointing second set to win 6-2 1-6 6-3 in an hour and 43 minutes. Kovalik broke four times to three, the last being a crucial one in the final set, to book his spot in the Round of 16 with victory on the clay courts.

CORDOBA OPEN ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

[WC] Nicolas Jarry (CHL) defeated Jaume Munar (ESP) 5-7 7-6 6-4
Jozef Kovalik (SVK) defeated Daniel Elahi Galan (COL) 6-2 1-6 6-3

Picture credit: Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images

ATP 250s wraps: Tsonga beaten on return as Popyrin claims win in Singapore

GRAND SLAM finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga made his long-awaited return to the ATP Tour at the Open Sud de France in Montpellier yesterday, though it did not go plan. The former Top 10 talent was easily beaten by American Sebastian Korda in the first round of the ATP 250 event.

The match lasted just 72 minutes with Korda claiming the spoils, 6-4 6-2, dominating on serve and only dropping eight points in total, saving both of his opponent’s break point opportunities. Tsonga was far from his best, but getting through the match was the key, still winning 69 per cent of his first serve points, and serving five aces throughout the match. He saved three of six break points, but ultimately could not do enough against a player who has built form over the past 12 months.

It was better news for sixth seed Ugo Humbert, whose rise up the ATP Rankings continues following his straight sets win over Slovakian Norbert Gombos. Humbert won 6-4 7-6 in 78 minutes, slamming home 18 aces and winning 88 per cent of his first serve points off an elite 79 per cent efficiency to never give his opponent a chance. In Gombos’ defence, he held up well, actually breaking Humbert once from two chances, while the Frenchman broke him from both his opportunities. Overall the class of Humbert stood out and he advanced to the Round of 16.

In the final match played on day one of the main draw event, seventh seed Lorenzo Sonego battled past young Frenchman Hugo Gaston. The Italian won 6-3 6-7 6-1, holding his nerve in the third set after dropping the second set tiebreaker 9-7, to win in two hours and 19 minutes. He served seven aces and broke six times from 12 chances, while only being broken three times himself.

In today’s action, there are plenty more Frenchman on show, with Lucas Pouille taking on compatriot and wildcard Benjamin Bonzi, while Gilles Simon faces Austrian Dennis Novak. The match of the day could be either British wildcard and Grand Slam winner Andy Murray taking on Belarusian Egor Gerasimov, or Swede Mikael Ymer locking horns with Jiri Vesely.

OPEN SUD DE FRANCE ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

[6] Ugo Humbert (FRA) defeated Norbert Gombos (SVK) 6-4 7-6
[7] Lorenzo Sonego (ITA) defeated [WC] Hugo Gaston (FRA) 6-3 6-7 6-1
Sebastian Korda (USA) defeated Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) 6-4 6-2

Five first round matches were completed in Singapore, with a mixed bag for the two seeds on court. Fifth seed Japanese counter puncher Yoshihito Nishioka defeated improving American Michael Mmoh 6-2 3-6 6-3, while seventh seed South African Lloyd Harris went down in three sets to Bulgarian wildcard Adrian Andreev.

Nishioka needed almost two hours to defeat Mmoh, surviving 11 aces to bring up 10 break point opportunities, albeit only taking three. It was two more than Mmoh who broke once in the second set, but could not do it again in the match. Meanwhile Andreev took two hours and 19 minutes to knock off the fast-serving Harris, not needing to serve and ace and even holding off 12 of 15 break point chances for the South African to win 1-6 6-3 6-4. The Bulgarian bounced back from a disappointing first set to post the impressive win over the developing Harris.

Andreev now takes on Australian Alexei Popyrin who knocked off American qualifier, Christopher Eubanks in two tiebreakers, 7-6 7-6, both of which were 7-5 tiebreakers. The match lasted one hour and 46 minutes, with Popyrin powering home 15 aces and saving 10 of 11 break points in a remarkable feat. He won 72 per cent of his first serve points, and also only broke Eubanks once, holding firm in the crucial tiebreakers to claim a narrow straight sets win.

In other Singapore results, United States’ Maxime Cressy became his nation’s sole winner on the day, downing Chinese Taipei’s Jason Jung in straight sets 7-6 6-2, while Japan’s Taro Daniel joined compatriot Nishioka in the second round after a tight three-set win over India’s Ramkumar Ramanathan, 6-3 6-7 6-3.

In today’s action, three Australians are out on court, with Marc Polmans up first against Japan’s Yasutaka Uchiyama. Following that match, qualifier John-Patrick Smith has to find a way to upstage sixth seed Macedonian Radu Albot, before James Duckworth takes to the court at night against German, Yannick Hanfmann.

SINGAPORE ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

[5] Yoshihito Nishioka (JPN) defeated Michael Mmoh (USA) 6-2 3-6 6-3
[WC] Adrian Andreev (BUL) defeated [7] Lloyd Harris (RSA) 1-6 6-3 6-4
Maxime Cressy (USA) defeated Jason Jung (TAI) 7-6 6-2
Taro Daniel (JPN) defeated Ramkumar Ramanathan (IND) 6-3 6-7 6-3
Alexei Popyrin (AUS) defeated [Q] Christopher Eubanks (USA) 7-6 7-6

At the time of publishing, none of the day one matches had been completed in Cordoba, with the Argentinian tournament finishing off the third round of qualifying earlier in the day. The night session featured two Round of 32 matches which will be covered in tomorrow’s wrap, with Colombian Daniel Elahi Galan facing Slovakian Jozef Kovalik, followed by Spaniard Jaume Munar taking on Chilean wildcard Nicolas Jarry.

Picture credit: ATP Tour

Australian Open Men’s Quarter finals wrap: Russian’s run continues to set up ultimate semi-final challenge

NO one would have been surprised if prior to the tournament you had said eight-time Australian Open champion, world number one Novak Djokovic would be facing off in yet another semi-final at Melbourne Park. However his opponent on the other hand, 114th ranked qualifier Aslan Karatsev is an obscure for a pick that proves sometimes real life can be better than fiction.

The 27-year-old had won three – yes just three – matches coming into the Australian Open in his career. In fact, the Russian had only played a total of 13  ATP Tour matches. Including qualifying, Karatsev has now piled on eight wins on the trot, though only five of those come as official ATP Tour wins. Not enough could be said about the sheer remarkable ability of his feat.

He knocked off Italian Gianluca Mager to bring up his first ever Grand Slam main draw win, which is more like a light applause and back patting. Then, he made Belarusian Egor Gerasimov – who has had his fair share of upsets over the years – look like a midweek social pennant player by destroying him 6-0 6-1 6-0 in 93 minutes. That caught everyone’s attention, but it was his straight sets dismissal of world number nine and eighth seed, Diego Schwartzman that really had jaws dropping.

Schwartzman might not have the most weapons, but her rarely drops games to much lower opponents, but he was bundled out in straight sets as well, 6-3 6-3 6-3 in the third round. When Karatsev was two sets to love down against Canadian young gun Felix Auger-Aliassime, it looked like the dream was over. Think again. After three hours and 25 minutes, Karatsev fought his way back from the brink to win 3-6 1-6 6-3 6-3 6-4 to book a quarter finals appearance.

Then, in his most recent outing, he came back from a set down against 18th seed Grigor Dimitrov – who was coming off a straight sets win over world number three and reigning Australian Open finalist Dominic Thiem – to win 2-6 6-4 6-1 6-2. That match lasted two hours and 32 minutes, and kept the fairytale alive for the unlikely Russian qualifier who sent historians flicking through the history books to remember the last time a qualifier made the final four.

The fact of the matter was, Karatsev had actually made history. He became the first ever qualifier in the Open Era at the Australian Open to make a semi-final, and the first ever one on main draw debut to do so. He did it thanks to a powerful play against Dimitrov where he matched it with him blow-for-blow and then overcame him with 34 winners to 21, and only 10 more unforced errors (44-34).

“It’s an unbelievable feeling. Of course it’s my first time playing [a Grand Slam] main draw, first time [in the] semis,” Karatsev said post-match. “It’s incredible.”

Both players hit nine aces, and Karatsev was more clinical on his serve with a 67 per cent first serve success rate, and 55 per cent second serve success rate. He broke eight times from 11 chances, making more of his opportunities than his Bulgarian opponent (four of 14), to book his place in the final four. Now the comparisons to his new opponent are mind-blowing before you even get into it.

Karatsev has won eight matches on the trot, the same number of Australian Open’s that Djokovic has. The world number one is vying for his 18th Grand Slam title, Karatsev still only has eight ATP Tour wins in his career. The Russian qualifier has more than doubled his career prize money from his run at the Australian Open, whereas for Djokovic, it is a drop in the ocean.

The official numbers say that heading into the 2021 Australian Open, Karatsev had earned $618,354 USD career prize money, whereas the world number one has pocketed a casual $145,861,177 in his time. The 3-10 win-loss record is compared to a remarkable 936-192 for the Serbian star. Finally, 81 career titles to zero. The head-to-heads could go on forever, but the storyline remains the same, the journeyman underdog who no one saw coming is now up against the world’s best player, at his most dominant tournament.

Djokovic got there thanks to a four-set win over sixth seed Alexander Zverev, defeating the German 6-7 6-2 6-4 7-6 to roll into the semis showing a potential injury was not going to impact him. He served 23 aces to 21, had a 73 per cent to 64 per cent serving efficiency, and broke six times to three throughout the match. He also produced three more winners (48-45), though was not as clinical as usual with 18 more unforced errors (56-38), a rare stat to lose to the usually inconsistent Zverev. In the end, he made his way through to face an opponent he never would have predicted in his wildest dreams.

“Down to the very last shot, it was anybody’s game, anybody’s match,” Djokovic said post-match. “[There were] a lot of nerves out there, a lot of pressure. Emotionally, [I] feel a little drained, honestly. It was a great battle. Congratulations to Sascha for a great tournament and a great battle today. Tough luck today, but we pushed each other to the limit.”

While Djokovic might not have expected Karatsev as an opponent, he had done his homework on him and is not taking him lightly given his strengths.

“To be honest, I hadn’t seen [Karatsev] play at all before the Australian Open,” Djokovic said. “Of course, I have seen him play during the Australian Open… He is a very strong guy. “Physically, he is just very strong. “He moves well [and] just has a lot of firepower from the back of the court. [He has a] great backhand. “[He is straight] from the Russian school of tennis, [they] always have great backhands. “He serves well and he is motivated. “He has nothing to lose.”

Already Karatsev is a winner in the rankings, bolting up a mammoth 72 spots from 114th to 42nd, even if he loses the semi, going ahead of names such as Kei Nishikori, Marin Cilic and Nick Kyrgios in the process. If he wins, he will end his run in the Top 25 amongst the very top players on Tour, and everyone will be watching to see how he fares after what is a breakout tournament for the 27-year-old.

Unfortunately for the Russian, the other eight previous times Djokovic has reached an Australian Open semi-final, he has gone all the way. The winner of their semi-final will face the winner of the other semi-final, with two quarter finals to be completed today. An all-Russian battle between Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev takes place, as does world number two Rafael Nadal up against fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas.

QUARTER FINALS RESULTS:

[1] Novak Djokovic (SRB) defeated [6] Alexander Zverev (GER) 6-7 6-2 6-4 7-6
[Q] Aslan Karatsev (RUS) defeated [18] Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) 2-6 6-4 6-1 6-2

Picture credit: ATP Tour

Australian Open Men’s Round of 64 wrap: Kyrgios and Fritz come back from brink, as Fucsovics holds on in thrillers

THREE epic five-set matches were the talking point of the Round of 64 action at Melbourne Park yesterday, featuring two unseeded players toppling higher ranked opponents, and another winning against a compatriot, to book their place in the third round of the Grand Slam. Australian Nick Kyrgios and American Taylor Fritz both advanced through to the Round of 32, coming from two sets to one down in order to win, while Marton Fucsovics survived a mighty scare to hold on in a nail-biting tiebreak.

The longest match of the day went to Fritz and fellow American Reilly Opelka, with the match lasting a whopping four hours and seven minutes. Opelka won the first set 6-4, which followed three consecutive tiebreak sets – with Opelka being two sets to one up before Fritz levelled in the fourth – and Fritz eventually ran away with it in the fifth to post a 4-6 7-6 6-7 7-6 6-2 victory. Opelka served a casual 43 aces on his way to 91 winners, whilst his opponent had 18 and 54 respectively. However despite both serving seven double faults, Fritz only had an additional 26 unforced errors compared to the wild Opelka (79).

At night, Kyrgios also had to come from two sets to one down against the talented Ugo Humbert, posting a remarkable five-set win over the 29th seed. Kyrgios won 5-7 6-4 3-6 7-6 6-4 having been a break down late in the fourth set, but forced a tiebreaker which he won 7-2. Both big servers, Kyrgios marginally shaded Humbert with 30 aces to 27, as well as an 80 per cent first serve success rate, ahead of 78 per cent for his French opponent. Humbert was superb off the return, hitting 11 return winners to five (and seven more overall), as well as four less unforced errors. In the end it was Kyrgios’ ability to stand up when it counted for him to move through to the next round.

In a different style of match, Fucsovics had to hold on against a fierce and determined Stan Wawrinka in five sets, causing the upset of the day during the 7-5 6-1 4-6 2-6 7-6 victory. He won the first two sets and looked good, until the Swiss star clicked into gear, roaring back into the match. It was fitting that a massive 20-point tiebreaker would split the two, with Wawrinka two points away from victory at one stage, leading 8-4 in that super tiebreak. He won just one of the next eight points – though did have two match points against the Hungarian, before Fucsovics could finally collapse in jubilation. Fucsovics hit 34 winners to Wawrinka’s 49, but also had many less unforced errors (46-73) in the win.

The three five-set matches were complemented by a number of unseeded players pushing their seeded opponents in matches. Frances Tiafoe took a set off tournament favourite and world number one Novak Djokovic before going down 6-4 6-7 7-6 6-3, while Corentin Moutet, Jiri Vesely and Alexander Bublik did the same against Milos Raonic, Pablo Carreno Busta and Dusan Lajovic respectively. Unseeded Spaniard Pedro Martinez needed four sets to dispose of Finn Emil Ruusuvuori – who defeated Gael Monfils in the first round – coming back from a disappointing first set to win 1-6 6-3 6-2 7-6.

Most of the other seeded wins were one-sided as Dominic Thiem and Diego Schwartzman cruised through without too many headaches. Three Australians departed in straight sets at the hands of seeds, as Denis Shapovalov knocked off Bernard Tomic, Grigor Dimitrov took out Alex Bolt, and Felix Auger-Aliassime claimed a win over James Duckworth. In other matches, 32nd seed Adrian Mannarino continued his good form with a convincing 6-1 6-2 6-4 victory over Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic, whilst the most one-sided result of the entire day was Russian qualifier Aslan’s Karatsev‘s 93-minute rout of Belarusian Egor Gerasimov, dropping just one game on his way to a 6-0 6-1 6-0 win.

The Round of 32 matches that the day two results have set up include blockbusters such as third seed Thiem up against Kyrgios, Carreno Busta taking on Dimitrov and an all-Canadian battle between Shapovalov and Auger-Aliassime. Completing the Round of 64 matches today, Australians Thanasi Kokkinakis and Alex de Minaur are in action against fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas and Uruguayan Pablo Cuevas respectively, while rising stars Carlos Alcaraz and Mikael Ymer face off, and Casper Ruud takes on Tommy Paul.

ROUND OF 64 RESULTS:

[1] Novak Djokovic (SRB) defeated Frances Tiafoe (USA) 6-3 6-7 7-6 6-3
[3] Dominic Thiem (AUT) defeated Dominik Koepfer (GER) 6-4 6-0 6-2
[6] Alexander Zverev (GER) defeated [Q] Maxime Creesy (USA) 7-5 6-4 6-3
[8] Diego Schwartzman (ARG) defeated [LL] Alexandre Muller (FRA) 6-2 6-0 6-3
[11] Denis Shapovalov (CAN) defeated [Q] Bernard Tomic (AUS) 6-1 6-3 6-2
[14] Milos Raonic (CAN) defeated Corentin Moutet (FRA) 6-7 6-1 6-1 6-4
[15] Pablo Carreno Busta (ESP) defeated Jiri Vesely (CZE) 6-3 7-6 2-6 6-4
Marton Fucsovics (HUN) defeated [17] Stan Wawrinka (SUI) 7-5 6-1 4-6 2-6 7-6
[18] Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) defaeted [WC] Alex Bolt (AUS) 7-6 6-1 6-2
[20] Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN) defeated James Duckworth (AUS) 6-4 6-1 6-2
[23] Dusan Lajovic (SRB) defeated Alexander Bublik (KAZ) 6-4 7-6 4-6 6-3
[27] Taylor Fritz (USA) defeated Reilly Opelka (USA) 4-6 7-6 6-7 7-6 6-2
Nick Kyrgios (AUS) defeated [29] Ugo Humbert (FRA) 5-7 6-4 3-6 7-6 6-4
[32] Adrian Mannarino (FRA) defeated Miomir Kecmanovic (SRB) 6-1 6-2 6-4
[Q] Aslan Karatsev (RUS) defeated Egor Gerasimov (BLR) 6-0 6-1 6-0
Pedro Martinez (ESP) defeated Emil Ruusuvuori (FIN) 1-6 6-3 6-2 7-6

Picture credit: Getty Images

Australian Open Men’s Round of 128 wrap: Finn young gun and Belarusian danger man upset French duo

FINNISH young gun Emil Ruusuvuori caused the biggest upset on day one of the 2021 Australian Open, knocking off 10th seed Frenchman Gael Monfils in a five-set thriller. The match lasted three hours and 46 minutes, and was not the only heartbreak for France, with second ranked Frenchman Benoit Paire also bowing out of the Grand Slam.

The 21-year-old Ruusuvuori showed unbelievable grit and determination to save 17 break points during the 3-6 6-4 7-5 3-6 6-3 win, broken six of 23, whilst breaking his opponent the same amount of times. Monfils fired off 13 aces to four and only had five double faults to 11, but it was Ruusuvuori’s perseverance in the end that saw him get up in a remarkable upset.

Paire went down in four sets to Belarusian Egor Gerasimov, 6-2 2-6 7-6 7-5 despite hitting a whopping 74 winners to 25. The match was controlled off Paire’s racquet, also hitting 21 aces to five. The issue for the Frenchman has always been his consistency with said power, casually serving 23 double faults and hitting 90 unforced errors – numbers that will rarely ever win you a tennis match.

It was not all bad news for the French nation however, with the most in-form Frenchmen in Ugo Humbert and Adrian Mannarino – both seeds themselves at 29th and 32nd respectively – moving onto the next round, as did Corentin Moutet and lucky loser Alexandre Muller. Of those results, Moutet’s five-set upset of Australian John Millman on his home soil was huge, as the up-and-coming talent won 6-4 6-7 3-6 6-2 6-3 to advance to the Round of 64.

As for the home nation hopes, it was a mixed bag with Nick Kyrgios getting through his opening round match in straight sets, James Duckworth taking care of lucky loser Damir Dzumhur in three, and Alex Bolt managing to fend off Norbert Gombos in four. Even Bernard Tomic booked his spot in the Round of 64 after opponent Yuichi Sugita had to retire at a set apiece and Tomic 4-1 up in the third. Unfortunately for the home fans, wildcard Marc Polmans joined Millman in exiting the tournament.

The most talked about match coming into day one was the unbelievable draw between 11th seed Canadian Denis Shapovalov and Italian rising talent Jannik Sinner. It lived up to all expectations with Shapovalov winning 3-6 6-3 6-2 4-6 6-4 in three hours and 55 minutes of action. Shapovalov controlled the tempo with 62 winners to 26, but also hit 71 unforced errors to 44. He managed to win 75 per cent of his first serve points, and broke Sinner five times from 10 attempts. The Italian will be ruing missed opportunities, setting up a whopping 20 break point chances, but only making the most of three of them.

In terms of the top eight seeds, Novak Djokovic and Dominic Thiem both moved through to the second round without dropping a set, while Alexander Zverev and Diego Schwartzman were forced to work a little harder to win in four. Canada would have certainly been pleased with day one, as Milos Raonic and Felix Auger-Aliassime barely broke a sweat in easy straight sets wins to join Shapovalov in the Round of 64. Stan Wawrinka, Pablo Carreno Busta and Grigor Dimitov also advanced without a hiccup, while Dusan Lajovic was put through the ultimate test of five sets against Ukrainian qualifier Sergiy Stakovsky before surviving, while American Taylor Fritz won in four sets against Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas.

American trio Reilly Opelka, Frances Tiafoe and qualifier Maxime Cressy also booked their places in the second round of the Australian Open, while Czech Jiri Vesely needed five sets – coming from two sets to one down -to put away Belgian qualifier, Kimmer Copperjans. Spaniard Pedro Martinez, Kazakh Alexander Bublik, Hungarian Marton Fucsovics, Russian Aslan Karatsev, Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic and German Dominik Koepfer were the other winners on day one.

AUSTRALIAN OPEN MEN’S ROUND OF 128 RESULTS:

[1] Novak Djokovic (SRB) defeated Jeremy Chardy (FRA) 6-3 6-1 6-2
[3] Dominic Thiem (AUT) defeated Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ) 7-6 6-2 6-3
[6] Alexander Zverev (GER) defeated Marcos Giron (USA) 6-7 7-6 6-3 6-2
[8] Diego Schwartzman (ARG) defeated Elias Ymer (SWE) 7-6 6-4 2-6 6-2
Emil Ruusuvuori (FIN) defeated [10] Gael Monfils (FRA) 3-6 6-4 7-5 3-6 6-3
[11] Denis Shapovalov (CAN) defeated Jannik Sinner (ITA) 3-6 6-3 6-2 4-6 6-4
[14] Milos Raonic (CAN) defeated Federico Coria (ARG) 6-3 6-3 6-2
[15] Pablo Carreno Busta (ESP) defeated Kei Nishikori (JPN) 7-5 7-6 6-2
[17] Stan Wawrinka (SUI) defeated Pedro Sousa (POR) 6-3 6-2 6-4
[18] Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) defeated Marin Cilic (CRO) 6-4 6-2 7-6
[20] Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN) defeated [LL] Cedrik-Marcel Stebe (GER) 6-2 6-4 6-2
[23] Dusan Lajovic (SRB) defeated [Q] Sergiy Stakhovsky (UKR) 5-7 6-4 6-3 5-7 6-4
Egor Gerasimov (BLR) defeated [25] Benoit Paire (FRA) 6-2 2-6 7-6 7-5
[27] Taylor Fritz (USA) defeated Albert Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) 7-6 3-6 6-2 7-6
[29] Ugo Humbert (FRA) defeated Yasutaka Uchiyama (JPN) 6-3 6-4 6-7 6-3
[32] Adrian Mannarino (FRA) defeated Dennis Novak (AUT) 6-2 6-4 7-6
[WC] Alex Bolt (AUS) defeated Norbert Gombos (SVK) 6-2 6-2 4-6 6-3
Alexander Bublik (KAZ) defeated Aljaz Bedene (SLO) 6-4 7-5 5-7 6-4
[Q] Maxime Cressy (USA) defaeted [LL] Taro Daniel (JPN) 7-6 7-6 6-4
James Duckworth (AUS) defeated [LL] Damir Dzumhur (BIH) 6-3 6-2 6-4
Marton Fucsovics (HUN) defeated [WC] Marc Polmans (AUS) 4-6 6-3 6-1 6-7 6-3
[Q] Aslan Karatsev (RUS) defeated Gianluca Mager (ITA) 6-3 6-3 6-4
Miomir Kecmanovic (SRB) defeated Kamil Majchrzak (POL) 6-2 6-4 6-3
Dominik Koepfer (GER) defeated [LL] Hugo Dellien (BOL) 7-5 6-2 6-4
Nick Kyrgios (AUS) defeated [Q] Federico Ferreira Silva (POR) 6-4 6-4 6-4
Pedro Martinez (ESP) defeated Yoshihito Nishioka (JPN) 6-7 6-1 6-1 6-1
Corentin Moutet (FRA) defeated John Millman (AUS) 6-4 6-7 3-6 6-2 6-3
[LL] Alexandre Muller (FRA) defeated Juan Ignacio Londero (ARG) 4-6 6-3 6-0 6-3
Reilly Opelka (USA) defeated [PR] Yen-Hsun Lu (TAI) 6-3 7-6 6-3
Frances Tiafoe (USA) defeated Stefano Travaglia (ITA) 7-5 6-2 6-2
[Q] Bernard Tomic (AUS) defeated Yuichi Sugita (JPN) 3-6 6-1 4-1 RET
Jiri Vesely (CZE) defeated [Q] Kimmer Coppejans (BEL) 6-4 3-6 6-7 6-3 6-3

Picture credit: Tennis World USA

ATP 250 wraps: Semis decided after hectic day of action

A HUGE day of action at Melbourne Park resulted in the semi-finalists being decided for the two ATP 250 events, the Great Ocean Road Open and the Murray River Open.

A blockbuster semi-final between Karen Khachanov and Jannik Sinner awaits in the Great Ocean Road Open. The pair of top four seeds in the tournament booked their spots in the final four after winning their respective quarter finals. Khachanov had his work cut out for himself against Dutchman, Botic Van de Zandschulp 6-7 7-5 6-3, while Sinner toppled seventh seed Miomir Kecmanovic in straight sets, 7-6 6-4. The first set tiebreaker went to 12-10 before the young Italian could emerge victorious, but managed to get the job done.

Earlier in the day, Khachanov knocked out South African Kevin Anderson in straight sets, while Sinner took out Aljaz Bedene in equally tight circumstances. Kecmanovic had made the semis after a win over Salvatore Caruso, while Van de Zandschup was a surprise quarter finalist following an upset two-tiebreaker win over sixth seed American, Reilly Opelka.

In the other half of the draw, Stefano Travaglia and Thiago Monteiro will eye off their maiden ATP Tour title in the semi-finals. Travaglia upset third seed Hubert Hurkacz in three sets, 3-6 6-3 7-5, following an earlier win over danger man Alexander Bublik. Monteiro took out the last Australian hope in Jordan Thompson, as well as Spanish young gun Carlos Alcarez earlier in the day.

With just two seeds remaining in the draw, the winner of the Khachanov and Sinner match will go in as heavy favourites for the final tomorrow.

GREAT OCEAN ROAD OPEN QUARTER FINALS RESULTS:

[2] Karen Khachanov (RUS) defeated Botic Van de Zandschulp (NED) 6-7 7-5 6-3
Stefano Travaglia (ITA) defeated [3] Hubert Hurkacz (POL) 3-6 6-3 7-5
[4] Jannik Sinner (ITA) defeated [7] Miomir Kecmanovic (SRB) 7-6 6-4
Thiago Monteiro (BRA) defeated [11] Jordan Thompson (AUS) 6-4 6-4

A couple of retirements marred the Murray River Open quarter finals after players were forced to double up from the missing day’s play on Thursday. Instead Friday provided spectators with plenty of action and the semi-finalists were decided. Making it all the more intriguing is the fact that three of the four semi-finalists are yet to win an ATP Tour title.

The favourite to take home the title of the remaining players is rising star, Felix Auger-Aliassime who made it into the semis after winning in a tiebreaker against Jiri Vesely before the Czech retired at the the end of the set. Earlier, Auger-Aliassime took care of Egor Gerasimov in three sets, while Vseley had knocked off Ricardas Berankis.

Auger-Aliassime will now take on Corentin Moutet in the semi-finals, with neither player having won a title to their name. The 21-year-old Frenchman is a year older than his Canadian opponent, but much younger than second seed Bulgarian, Grigor Dimitrov who he toppled in the quarter finals. Winning 7-5 6-2, Moutet had a memorable victory which followed on from his victory over James Duckworth earlier in the day.

Unfortunately the quick turnaround between matches was always going to wreak havoc on player recovery, and those eyeing off a deep Australian Open such as 34-year-old Stan Wawrinka will always err on the side of caution. The Swiss veteran pulled out of his quarter final with Frenchman Jeremy Chardy, having struggled past Alex Bolt in three tight sets. Chardy knocked off sixth seed American, Taylor Fritz in straight sets.

In the last quarter final, eighth seeded Brit Daniel Evans won through in straight sets, 7-5 7-6 over fourth seed Borna Coric. Following a straightforward win over Nick Kyrgios earlier in the day, Coric was in good form, but it was Evans who got the better of him and is now eyeing off his maiden title on Tour, the oldest of the remaining players left in the draw.

MURRAY RIVER OPEN QUARTER FINALS:

Corentin Moutet (FRA) defeated [2] Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) 7-5 6-2
Jeremy Chardy (FRA) defeated [1] Stan Wawrinka (SUI) W/O
[3] Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN) defeated Jiri Vesely (CZE) 7-6 0-0 RET
[8] Daniel Evans (GBR) defeated Borna Coric (CRO) 7-5 7-6

Picture credit: Tennis Australia/ Natasha Morello

ATP Antalya & Delray Beach wraps: Top talents advance largely unchallenged

SEVEN of the eight seeds at the Antalya Open moved through to the second round, with only two of them needing to fight it out in three sets. The only losing seed to conclude the Round of 32 in Turkey was Miomir Kecmanovic, who, after winning the first set 6-1, fell away in a disappointing display to Italian Stefano Travaglia, 1-6 6-4 6-0.

It was a relatively good day for the Italians, with all five involved either being a seed or facing a seed, as top three talents Matteo Berrettini and Fabio Fognini had no troubles advancing in straight sets. Berrettini knocked off Turkish wildcard Ergi Kirkin 6-0 6-4, while Fognini fought off a determined Michael Vrbensky to win against the Czech qualifier, 6-4 7-6. Meanwhile the news was not as good for compatriots, Andrea Arnaboldi and Salvatore Caruso. Arnaboldi took sixth seed Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili to three sets but lost 4-6 7-5 6-1, while Caruso went down to Kazakh eighth seed Alexander Bublik, 6-3 6-3.

Second seed David Goffin had the toughest time of all the seeds, having to fight back from a set down and five match points in the second set to post a 3-6 7-5 6-0 win over Frenchman, Pierre-Hugues Herbert. Fellow seeds, Alex de Minaur and Jan-Lennard Struff did not have the same problem trouncing respective opponents, Malek Jaziri and Pavel Kotov in straight sets.

Looking at the unseeded matches, Bulgaria had a couple of winners with qualifying duo, Adrian Andreev and Dimitar Kuzmanov both advancing through. Andreev knocked off Turkish representative Marsel Ilhan, while Kuzmanov down Serbia’s Laslo Djere who was forced to retire midway through the second set. Also forced to retire during the match was German qualifier, Matthias Bachinger who went down to Spaniard Nicola Kuhn.

It was much better news for the French, who had all three unseeded representatives in Jeremy Chardy, Hugo Grenier and Tristan Lamasine advancing with wins, the latter particularly impressive by knocking over Belarusian Egor Gerasimov, 7-6 6-2. Other Round of 32 winners in Turkey were home nation hero Altug Celikbilek and Finland young gun Emil Ruusuvuori.

ANTALYA OPEN ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

[1] Matteo Berrettini (ITA) defeated [WC] Ergi Kirkin (TUR) 6-0 6-4
[2] David Goffin (BEL) defeated Pierre-Hugues Herbert (FRA) 3-6 7-5 6-0
[3] Fabio Fognini (ITA) defeated [Q] Michael Vrbensky (CZE) 6-4 7-6
[4] Alex de Minaur (AUS) defeated Malek Jaziri (TUN) 6-2 6-1
[5] Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) defeated [Q] Pavel Kotov (RUS) 6-4 6-3
[6] Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO) defeated Andrea Arnaboldi (ITA) 4-6 7-5 6-1
Stefano Travaglia (ITA) defeated [7] Miomir Kecmanovic (SRB) 1-6 6-4 6-0
[8] Alexander Bublik (KAZ) defeated Salvatore Caruso (ITA) 6-3 6-3
[Q] Adrian Andreev (BUL) defeated [WC] Marsel Ilhan (TUR) 6-4 6-3
[WC] Altug Celikbilek (TUR) defeated Kacper Zuk (POL) 7-6 7-5
Jeremy Chardy (FRA) defeated Radu Albot (MOL) 6-3 6-4
Hugo Grenier (FRA) defeated [Q] Alex Molvan (SVK) 7-5 6-4
Nicola Kuhn (ESP) defeated [Q] Matthias Bachinger (GER) 3-6 6-3 4-1 RET
[Q] Dimitar Kuzmanov (BUL) defeated Laslo Djere (SRB) 6-1 3-2 RET
Tristan Lamasine (FRA) defeated Egor Gerasimov (BLR) 7-6 6-2
Emil Ruusuvuori (FIN) defeated Jiri Vesely (CZE) 6-3 7-6

There was no shortage of successful United States winners at Delray Beach with all three seeds going through, as well as three additional rising talents. Fifth seed Tommy Paul knocked off South Korea’s Ji Sung Nam 6-1 6-4, sixth seed Sam Querrey toppled compatriot Mackenzie McDonald 6-3 6-4, and eighth seed Frances Tiafoe rolled past another compatriot in qualifier Donald Young, 6-3 6-4.

Qualifier Christian Harrison, and other Americans Bjorn Fratangelo and Sebastian Korda all won through to the Round of 16. Korda had an impressive win over South Korea’s Soonwoo Kwon 6-4 6-4 to book his spot in the next stage. The news was not as good for three other United States’ representatives, going down in their respective matches. Wildcards Ryan Harrison, JC Aragone and Noah Rubin lost to Gianluca Mager, Cameron Norrie and Roberto Quiroz.

With United States players on court in all bar three games, there was plenty to enjoy for the home nation fans on the stream. In the three non-United States games, Croatian veteran Ivo Karlovic knocked off Spanish seventh seed Pablo Andujar in three sets 6-3 5-7 6-4. In the other results, Thiago Monteiro won the all-Brazilian clash over Thomaz Bellucci 6-3 7-5, and Colombian Daniel Elahi Galan defeated Slovakian Andrej Martin 6-4 6-4.

DELRAY BEACH ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

[5] Tommy Paul (USA) defeated Ji Sung Nam (KOR) 6-1 6-4
[6] Sam Querrey (USA) defeated Mackenzie McDonald (USA) 6-3 6-4
Ivo Karlovic (CRO) defeated [7] Pablo Andujar (ESP) 6-3 5-7 6-4
[8] Frances Tiafoe (USA) defeated [Q] Donald Young (USA) 6-3 6-4
Bjorn Fratangelo (USA) defeated [Q] Kevin King (USA) 6-2 6-2
Daniel Elahi Galan (COL) defeated Andrej Martin (SVK) 6-4 6-4
[Q] Christian Harrison (USA) defeated Tomas Martin Etcheverry (ARG) 6-4 6-2
Sebastian Korda (USA) defeated Soonwoo Kwon (KOR) 6-4 6-4
Gianluca Mager (ITA) defeated [WC] Ryan Harrison (USA) 3-6 6-1 6-4
Thiago Monteiro (BRA) defeated Thomaz Bellucci (BRA) 6-3 7-5
Cameron Norrie (GBR) defeated [WC] JC Aragone (USA) 6-2 6-1
[Q] Roberto Quiroz (COL) defeated [WC] Noah Rubin (USA) 7-6 6-3

2021 ATP Antalya and Delray Beach previews: Top 30 talents hit the hard courts in New Year

AFTER a long 2020, the 2021 ATP Tour is underway, with the main draw matches to take place today in Antalya, Turkey and Delray Beach, United States. Both hard court events are ATP 250 ones to give players a taste of the action before heading Down Under for an extended period in Australia where multiple tournaments take place in Melbourne.

Looking at Antalya, Matteo Berrettini is the top seed, with the Italian headlining the event there prior to the ATP Cup in February. His compatriot Fabio Fognini is also there, as are the other key Italian players, Salvatore Caruso, Stefano Travaglia and Andrea Arnaboldi. While Jannik Sinner is the key exclusion from the group, it is fair to say there is an Italian presence in Turkey.

David Goffin is seeded second at the event and has drawn a rough quarter of the draw, facing Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert up first in 2021. A potential quarter final matchup with Miomir Kecmanovic is a danger game, though the rising Serbian has his own issues to deal with, taking on Travaglia in Round 1, before a second round encounter with either Finn Emil Ruusuvuori or Czech Jiri Vesely.

In the sam half of the draw is Australian Alex de Minaur who faces Tunisian Malek Jaziri in the first round. The 249th ranked Jaziri may well be the toughest challenge for the talented all-courter, with an easy quarter of the draw, including a couple of Turkish wildcards in Marsel Ilhan and Altug Celikbilek in there. Nikoloz Basilashvili is destined for a final eight meeting with de Minaur, the only other danger man in that section.

Fognini is third seed at the event, and could face fifth seed German, Jan-Lennard Struff in the quarter finals. The Italian takes on a qualifier first up, but will play the winner of Jeremy Chardy and Radu Albot which is an entertaining matchup in itself. In the same half, Laslo Djere looks set to face Berrettini in the second round, while eighth seed Alexander Bublik taking on Caruso, and then the winner locking horns with likely Egor Gerasimov makes it an entertaining section.

There is a lot on the line at Antalya because a fair few of the top players have had inconsistencies in the back half of the year, and de Minaur may well be the favourite heading into the event, though you can never discount the likes of Fognini and Berrettini, though Goffin has the talent to take it out as well.

Heading to Delray Beach, the 250 event is a 28-player draw, with Chilean Cristian Garin, American John Isner, Frenchman Adrian Mannarino and Pole Hubert Hurkacz the four seeds to automatically gain entry into the Round of 16. With a host of United States representatives, the home nation will be confident it can yield a winner at the event.

In bottom quarter, the eight players involved are three Americans, two Brazilians and two South Koreans along with second seed Isner’s bye. The only two Brazilians in the draw – Thomaz Bellucci and Thiago Monteiro – will go head-to-head, whilst fifth seed Tommy Paul will likely face Soonwoo Kwon in the second round for the likely crack at Isner in the quarter finals.

Eighth seed Frances Tiafoe has a relatively easy run to the quarter finals, taking on a qualifier in the first round, then either another qualifier or Bjorn Fratangelo in the second round. Mannarino or Great Britain’s Cameron Norrie awaits in the final eight, which the young American will be keen to win to likely face either Paul or Isner in the semis.

The top-end quality of the draw slims out given Tiafoe and Pablo Andujar (seventh) are seeds, with Andujar taking on Croatian veteran Ivo Karlovic in the opening round. While Karlovic is well past his prime, his power serving is hard to stop on hard courts, with the winner having a good run to the last eight. Hurkacz is in the quarter, with either Slovakian Andrej Martin, or Colombian Daniel Elahi Galan awaiting in the second round.

Garin is the top seed and while hard courts are not his go as such, he should get through to the quarter finals without a worry. There he will more than likely face an American with sixth seed Sam Querrey and Mackenzie McDonald doing battle in Round 1, while wildcard Ryan Harrison takes on the sole Italian in the draw, Gianluca Mager.

The fact the event is on hard court and not clay means Garin is more of an underdog than a favourite. Hurkacz is a really good should if the polite Pole can play at his best, with a relatively soft draw all the way to the final given Garin is no certainty on the surface. The bottom half is more competitive, and you would expect Mannarino to be too consistent for a fair few, but on the surface, Isner would be the favourite, though Paul is quickly catching up, and the penny may drop for Tiafoe in 2021.

Picture: Getty Images

Defensive seeds advance as offensive ones all out by Sofia quarter finals

IT has been a strange tournament at the Sofia Open this week, with Felix Auger-Aliassime joining the likes of Denis Shapovalov, Jan-Lennard Struff, Nikoloz Basilashvili and Marin Cilic in losing their first match of the final ATP Tour tournament. All five seeds are traditional offensive players – though the likes of Struff and Cilic are more serve-dominant power players – and whether that cites something about the surface it is hard to know. On the other hand, the three more defensive-orientated seeds in Australian duo, Alex de Minaur and John Millman, and French fifth seed Adrian Mannarino are all through to the quarter finals.

Auger-Aliassime will be disappointed as the second seed to bow out in the Round of 16 to Italian Stefano Caruso, 6-4 6-4. The match lasted an hour and 40 minutes with the world number 82 breaking twice whilst saving six break point opportunities against Auger-Aliassime to hold on and secure the win. Neither player was particularly efficient with their serve, as Caruso only produced a 44 per cent efficiency, but made up for it with a 77 and 62 per cent winning record on his first and second serve points respectively. Auger-Aliassime served served seven aces, but only had a 59 per cent serving efficiency and won 10 less points on his serve opening the door for Caruso to break him.

Australian third seed de Minaur now sits as the tournament favourite after dispatching Russian Aslan Karatsev in straight sets, 6-4 7-6. In a match that lasted an hour and 50 minutes, de Minaur won 69 per cent of his first serve points and broke three times to two, going down to the wire in the second set tiebreaker. Emerging victorious in the tiebreaker 7-5, de Minaur was able to advance through to the quarter finals where he faces the biggest danger man remaining in the draw – Italian young gun Jannik Sinner.

In what will be a repeat of last year’s Next-Gen ATP Finals, it almost seems like a match fit for a final, but the winner will only advance through to the semis after Sinner did what he had to do against Swiss lucky loser, Marc-Andrea Huesler. Sinner won 6-3 6-4 in 78 minutes, hardly losing a point off his first serve (five for the match) to save both break point opportunities for his opponent, whilst breaking the Swiss talent twice. Sinner also served six aces for only one double fault, to Huesler’s nine and three respectively.

In a match that anyone watching knew was going to be a grind, two genuine endurance beasts went at it in sixth seed Millman and French qualifier Gilles Simon in their second round clash. The Australian won his first match since claiming the Astana Open title two matches back, needing three sets to win against Simon, 7-5 6-7 6-2 in what was a real grind, lasting three hours and 15 minutes. Neither player is known to give in, but it was Simon’s inconsistent serve – five aces but 12 double faults – compared to Millman’s ultra-consistent approach – 68 per cent efficiency and 61 and 66 per cent winning record off his first and second serve points – that got him home and into a quarter final against a well-rested Vasek Pospisil.

The man Millman conquered in that Astana Open final, Adrian Mannarino also advanced through to the quarter finals of the Sofia Open, defeating Belarusian Egor Gerasimov 6-4 7-6 in an hour and 47 minutes. Gerasimov produced 10 aces and won 75 per cent of his first serve points off a 67 per cent clip, but it was Mannarino who managed to remain consistent throughout, producing the five aces and winning more points off his second serve (56 per cent to 42 per cent). He broke twice from three chances while Gerasimov could only capitalise once from seven opportunities. The second set tiebreaker went down to the winer but in the end the Frenchman got up 7-5 to claim the win and move through to the final eight. He will now take on Moldovan Radu Albot in the quarter finals.

In the final match of the day, Richard Gasquet proved too good for a gallant Jonas Forejtek, as the French veteran got up 6-4 6-2 over the Czech teenager coming off his first-ever ATP Tour win. Gasquet needed 69 minutes to defeat Forejtek, serving eight aces to seven and only dropping a remarkable one point off his first serve in a dominant performance. Saving both break points and only losing a total of eight points off his serve, the Frenchman was far too consistent against the teenager who did well defensively to save six of nine break point opportunities but just fell short in crunch moments despite seven aces without a double fault.

Picture: Getty Images

Albot takes out top seed Shapovalov in one-sided day of action

RADU Albot caused the biggest upset of the day, taking out number one seed Denis Shapovalov, one of five straight-set matches on day two of main draw matches at the Sofia Open. The Moldovan’s 6-2 6-4 win over the world number 12 was the first of the Round of 16 clashes at the event, with Canadian Vasek Pospisil taking care of fourth seed Jan-Lennard Struff in the other second round encounter.

Albot, ranked 93 in the world, was consistent to weather Shapovalov’s inconsistent serve, with the winner needing 74 minutes to claim victory. He served at a high 77 per cent efficiency, only serving one double fault and winning 31 of 36 points off his first serve, and only dropping a total of nine for the match off either serve. He saved both break points he faced, whilst capitalising off a poor Shapovalov efficiency of 45 per cent, winning 52 per cent of the Canadian’s second serve points to break him three times from six chances during the straight sets win. The win meant Albot moved through to his second ATP Tour quarter final for the year and will play the winner of tomorrow’s Adrian Mannarino and Egor Gerasimov clash.

Also through to the next round was Pospisil, who will await the winner of counterpunchers John Millman and Gilles Simon, following the Canadian’s straight-set dismissal of German Struff. Pospisil only needed 81 minutes to win 6-3 6-4 to book his spot in the next round against the inconsistent Struff, with both players serving five aces, but Pospisil only dropping three points off his first serve making life difficult for his opponent. The Canadian’s serve was far from perfect, serving at a 50 per cent clip. Surprisingly though, Struff only managed the one break point opportunity and could not capitalise, whilst Pospisil set up play with 10 chances, but only taking two.

In the trio of Round 1 matches, Jannik Sinner joined a duo of Frenchmen in the Round of 16, completing all the Round of 32 matches. Sinner was too good for Hungary’s Marton Fucsovics, with the Italian teen continuing his late-season form to win 6-2 6-4 and advance through to the next round. He only served the two aces and served at 55 per cent efficiency, but terrorised Fucsovics off his serve, winning 53 per cent of his return points. It allowed Sinner to set up a whopping 18 break point opportunities, and whilst he only took five, it was enough to see him complete the rout in just over an hour and a half.

“For everyone, first-round matches are not easy,” Sinner said post-match. “I tried to be solid. “In the beginning of the match, we were both playing quite well and moving well… “In the second set, I was a break up and he recovered. “It was just two or three points in each set that decided the match.”

Sinner now faces lucky loser Swiss talent Marc Andrea Huesler in the next round after the lowly ranked European took out seventh seed Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili yesterday. Then a potential third round clash with Alex de Minaur awaits in what would be a repeat of the 2019 ATP Next-Gen Final.

Meanwhile in the last two matches, French qualifier Simon joined compatriot Richard Gasquet in the Round of 16 following straightforward wins. Simon defeated Slovakian Andrej Martin 6-2 6-2, while Gasquet took care of Spaniard Roberto Carballes Baena 6-3 6-4. Simon takes on Millman first up tomorrow in a quick turnaround, whilst Gasquet will take on Czech teenager Jonas Forejtek who stunned eighth seed Marin Cilic yesterday. In other matches tomorrow, de Minaur will face Russian qualifier Aslan Karatsev, Sinner locks horns with Huesler, Gerasimov takes on Mannarino, and second seed Felix Auger-Aliassime will hope to do better than his top seed countryman when he faces Italian Salvatore Caruso.

Picture: Getty Images