Tag: jozef kovalik

ATP Tour wrap: Fritz poised for move on clay

IT is time for Taylor Fritz to make his move. The 23-year-old American has been been in the Top 100 since shooting up to 81st in the world rankings back in February, 2016. Then, the 18-year-old was seen as one of the many youngsters ready to take the world by storm and be the next big thing from the United States.

Unfortunately it did not quite go to plan, and Fritz’s 2017 was a forgettable one where he yo-yo’d in and out of the Top 100, before a new year in 2018 saw him crack it again and this time he would not drop out. While Fritz has not had a substantial drop in the past three years, he really has not made any inroads, and has hovered around the Top 30 for some time, reaching 24th in the world last August, and currently sitting 30th.

Fritz is still young, but at 23, he should be hitting his peak, and at 193cm, the American has plenty of potential. He has just one title – at Eastbourne in 2019 – with four finals losses. He runs at close to 50 per cent success across all surfaces, and is not phased by either left or right handers with an even billing there too. On paper, he should not have too many weaknesses, able to serve strongly – winning 75 per cent of his first serve points – return relatively well and have a solid all-round forehand and backhand shot selection.

The issue from a service perspective is more his efficiency, putting just 59 per cent of his first serves in court, then having to recover by winning 50 per cent of his second serve points. He is the furthest thing from a volleyer, and prefers to keep the tempo from the baseline, which is his style, being a strong server, then baseline talent.

In his win against Slovakian Andrej Martin overnight, Fritz took 93 minutes to win 6-2 7-6. After cruising in the first set, he did not have the same level of control in the second, as Martin lifted and forced Fritz to fight out a tiebreaker, something the American seed has become fairly good at over his career. On this occasion, Fritz won 7-4 and therefore booked his spot in the quarter finals at the Sardegna Open.

He only produced the two aces, but three double faults and served at a 55 per cent efficiency, which summarised him in a nutshell. He won 68 and 44 per cent of his first and second serve points, breaking five times to three. What did stand out was his much higher first serve return, which is often quite low, but Fritz won 46 per cent of points off the Slovakian’s first serve. It meant he could take control upon return, and if he could tighten up his efficiency, he could go a long way on Tour.

He will now face Slovenian Aljaz Bedene in the quarter finals, after Bedene defeated Belarusian Egor Gerasimov in straight sets, 6-4- 7-6. Fritz and Bedene played for the first time in the Cincinnati Masters 1000 last year, with the Slovenian emerging triumphant 7-6 7-5 in a nail-biter. It is not a result that would haunt Fritz too much, and the world number 30’s best is better than Bedene’s, but the Slovenian can be a tricky opponent. In that match, Bedene had one more ace (11-10), and ironically Fritz’s first serve was more efficient (63 per cent), but his worries with first serve return success at a shocking 16 per cent. He will need to have more resistance on the clay against Bedene than he did on the hard courts that day.

Also into the quarter finals are fourth and fifth seeds Nikoloz Basilashvili and Jan-Lennard Struff who both won through with respective wins over qualifiers. They are in the top half of the draw though, with top seed Daniel Evans to play teenage wonderkid Lorenzo Musetti today, and Laslo Djere to face off against John Millman for the other spot. In the bottom half of the the draw, and upset by German Yannick Hanfmann over American Tommy Paul in the first round has really opened the draw wide up, and Hanfmann will now take on clay court specialist Marco Cecchinato, with the Italian’s compatriot Lorenzo Sonego entering the tournament up against reliable Frenchman Gilles Simon.

Fritz has the best chance to-date of adding a second title to his name, and whilst hard court might be his preferred surface, he is able to hide his first serve return worries on clay, and still be a dangerous server. He will have to overcome more clay-competent players, but he has the talent and should at least make a final at Sardegna, with the top half of the draw much more stacked than the bottom half.

Meanwhile over at the Andalucia Open, it was a rather predictable day, with three of the four seeds advancing. Tournament favourite Pablo Carreno Busta defeated Spanish compatriot and qualifier Mario Vilella Martinez, joining fourth seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas in the final eight. Korean Soonwoo Kwon also made his way through with a triumph over Argentinian Facundo Bagnis, whilst Slovakian Norbert Gombos took down eighth seed Argentinian Federico Delbonis.

SARDEGNA OPEN ROUND OF 16 RESULTS:

[2] Taylor Fritz (USA) defeated Andrej Martin (SVK) 6-2 7-6
[4] Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO) defeated [Q] Jozef Kovalik (SVK) 4-6 6-4 7-5
[5] Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) defeated [Q] Liam Broady (GBR) 6-4 6-2
Aljaz Bedene (SLO) defeated Egor Gerasimov (BLR) 6-4 7-6

ANDALUCIA OPEN ROUND OF 16 RESULTS:

[1] Pablo Carreno Busta (ESP) defeated [Q] Mario Vilella Martinez (ESP) 7-6 6-3
[4] Albert Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) defeated Ricardas Berankis (LTU) 6-3 4-6 6-3
[7] Soonwoo Kwon (KOR) defeafed Facundo Bagnis (ARG) 6-1 6-3
Norbert Gombos (SVK) defeated [8] Federico Delbonis (ARG) 5-7 7-6 7-6

ATP Tour wrap: Round of 32 complete at Sardegna and Marbella

COMPETITION continued in Sardegna and Marbella today with the Round of 32 at both ATP 250 events still going strong and homegrown talent proving influential on Day 2 of proceedings.

At Sardegna, three set encounters told the story with fifth and sixth seeds Jan-Lennard Struff and John Millman amongst a group of six players who required a third set to clinch victory. Struff overcame a shocking 1-6 start to Joao Sousa to remain in the hunt for the second round, collecting the 1-6 6-1 7-5 victory in just over two hours. Gilles Simon was another who came from a set down to win in three, defeating home talent Stefano Travaglia 1-6 6-3 6-4, as did qualifier Jozef Kovalik, who was one of two Slovakian competitors to win on the day, joined by Andrej Martin in the second round.

It was a first set tiebreaker that was the difference between a win and a loss for Australian sixth see Millman, who overcame Federico Coria 7-6(5) 3-6 6-3 in a mammoth three hour and 13 minute encounter, whilst Italian Marco Cecchinato was the remaining three set winner with a victory over compatriot Thomas Fabbiano 6-4 4-6 6-3. Lorenzo Musetti joined Ceecchinato in the second round after a confidence-boosting 6-0 6-1 obliteration of Dennis Novak in just 52 minutes, with the remaining win of the day going to British qualifier Liam Broady, who defeated Swiss qualifier Marc-Andrea Huesler 6-1 6-3.

SARDEGNA OPEN ROUND OF 32 RESULTS: 

[5] Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) defeated Joao Sousa (POR) 1-6 6-1 7-5
[6] John Millman (AUS) defeated Federico Coria (ARG) 7-6 3-6 6-3
[Q] Liam Broady (GBR) defeated [Q] Marc-Andrea Huesler (SUI) 6-1 6-3
Marco Cecchinato (ITA) defeated [WC] Thomas Fabbiano (ITA) 6-4 4-6 6-3
[Q] Jozef Kovalik (SVK) defeated [Q] Sumit Nagal (IND) 3-6 6-1 6-3
Andrej Martin (SVK) defeated Jiri Vesely (CZE) 6-4 2-6 6-1
Lorenzo Musetti (ITA) defeated Dennis Novak (AUT) 6-0 6-1
Gilles Simon (FRA) defeated Stefano Travaglia (ITA) 1-6 6-3 6-4

At Marbella, results went the opposite way with majority straight sets victories across the day, and just one three setter to speak of, which intriguingly was still a mostly one-sided battle as Alejandro Davidovich Fokina reigned supreme in a 6-7 6-2 6-2 encounter with Damir Dzumhur. The two hour flat matchup was marginally the longest of the day, with the Spaniard one of five to head into the second round. He is joined by Feliciano LopezJaume Munar, wildcard Carlos Alcaraz and qualifier Mario Vilella Martinez, after all four claimed solid wins.

The other three winners of the day hailed from Argentina, Belarus and Italy, with Argentinian Facundo Bagnis overcoming compatriot Francisco Cerundolo and Ilya Ivashka getting the job done in an identical 6-3 7-6(2) final result over another Spaniard in Pedro Martinez, while Gianluca Mager defeated Kazakh Mikhail Kukushkin.

ANYTECH365 ANDALUCIA OPEN ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

[5] Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (ESP) defeated Damir Dzumhur (BIH) 6-7 6-2 6-2
[6] Feliciano Lopez (ESP) defeated Taro Daniel (JPN) 6-4 6-4
[WC] Carlos Alcaraz (ESP) defeated [Q] Nikola Milojevic (SRB) 7-6 6-3
Facundo Bagnis (ARG) defeated Francisco Cerundolo (ARG) 6-3 7-6
Ilya Ivashka (BLR) defeated Pedro Martinez (ESP) 6-3 7-6
Gianluca Mager (ITA) defeated Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ) 7-5 6-3
Jaume Munar (ESP) defeated [Q] Henri Laaksonen (SUI) 6-4 6-1
[Q] Mario Vilella Martinez (ESP) defeated [Q] Bernabe Zapata Miralles (ESP) 6-2 6-3

ATP Tour wrap: Intriguing results heading into ATP 250 Rounds of 16

THE second day of Round of 32 proceedings is almost complete at the trio of ATP 250 tournaments at Qatar, Marseille and Santiago, with plenty of formidable outcomes continuing to set the tone for the quality of matches.

At Qatar, David Goffin continued his excellent form of late with a 6-4 6-4 clean sweep over Filip Krajinovic, rendering the Serbian wasteful and winning a whopping 82 per cent of his first serve points. Proceedings did not go quite so well for fellow seed Stan Wawrinka who was outplayed by South African qualifier Lloyd Harris. Harris took the Swiss talent to three sets only to run out 7-6 6-7 7-5 victor in two hours and 40 minutes. Whilst Wawrinka had a higher first serve win rate (87 per cent), Harris was more efficient with an 81 per cent win rate off a 69 per cent clip to claim victory, with his cleanliness on serve (11 aces for three double faults) compared to Wawrinka’s 17 and five doing the trick in this encounter.

Wildcard Malek Jaziri managed an to capitalise on a wealth of chances in an excellent outing against lucky loser Norbert Gombos, defeating the Slovakian – who ranks 95th in the world to Jaziri’s 262nd – in straight sets, 6-2 7-5. In other matches, Daniel EvansVasek Pospisil and Marton Fucsovics all reigned supreme, with the former claiming a 6-4 1-6 6-2 comeback victory over Jeremy Chardy, whilst Pospisil and Fucsovics both won in straight sets.

QATAR OPEN ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

[6] David Goffin (BEL) defeated Filip Krajinovic (SRB) 6-4 6-4
[Q] Lloyd Harris (RSA) defeated [7] Stan Wawrinka (SUI) 7-6 6-7 7-5
Daniel Evans (GBR) defeated Jeremy Chardy (FRA) 6-4 1-6 6-2
Marton Fucsovics (HUN) defeated Dusan Lajovic (SRB) 7-6 6-3
[WC] Malek Jaziri (TUN) defeated [LL] Norbert Gombos (SVK) 6-2 7-5
Vasek Pospisil (CAN) defeated [Q] Christopher O’Connell (AUS) 6-3 6-4

 

In Marseille, proceedings went much the way of the hometown heroes on day two as four Frenchman made their way through to the Round of 16. Wins to Pierre-Hugues HerbertJo-Wilfried TsongaLucas Pouille and Arthur Rinderknech kept France on the hunt, with the former and latter coming away with scalps as Herbert defeated sixth seed Kei Nishikori, whilst 138 ranked Rinderknech disposed of world number 96 Mikhail Kukushkin. Meanwhile, Tsonga got back on the winners list with a tough victory over Spaniard Feliciano Lopez, with the 3-6 6-4 7-5 battle seeing the two players combine for 32 aces and only seven double faults in a two-hour and seven-minute encounter.

The only seed – of two – to win through on day two at the Open 13 Provence was Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, as the seventh seed Spaniard disposed of Greek wildcard Petros Tsitsipas – younger brother of world number five Stefanos – in 45 minutes, 6-0 6-2. Also joining Davidovich Fokina in the second round are Australian Matt Ebden and American Mackenzie McDonald, after both players fought hard for victories ovwer Benjamin Bonzi and Stefano Travaglia, respectively.

OPEN 13 PROVENCE ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

Pierre-Hugues Herbert (FRA) defeated [6] Kei Nishikori (JPN) 6-1 6-4
[7] Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (ESP) defeated [WC] Petro Tsitsipas (GRE) 6-0 6-2
Lucas Pouille (FRA) defeated [Q] Alex Molcan (SVK) 7-5 6-3
[Q] Matthew Ebden (AUS) defeated [WC] Benjamin Bonzi (FRA) 3-6 7-6 6-3
[PR] Mackenzie McDonald (USA) defeated Stefano Travaglia (ITA) 7-6 7-6
[Q] Arthur Rinderknech (FRA) defeated Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ) 1-6 6-3 6-2
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) defeated Feliciano Lopez (ESP) 3-6 6-4 7-5

 

The only tournament which saw two seeds prevail on day two was at Chile, with a couple of Argentinian seeds in Federico Coria and Federico Delbonis reigning supreme in three sets. A huge three-hour and 10-minute encounter between Coria and Gianluca Mager delayed a lot of the day’s proceedings, with the 4-6 7-6(4) 7-6(4) result not coming easy to the Argentinian. But overall, Coria was far more consistent on serve, with a better efficiency and winning ability, whilst also backing it up on the return. His compatriot in Delbonis took all of two hours and 51 minutes to dispose of Spaniard Jaume Munar, 6-4 6-7 6-4. Two more Argentinians were not so lucky though, with Sebastian Baez and Francisco Cerundolo both disposed of in straight sets, with the latter unable to back up his excellent finals-bound run from last week going down in under an hour to Andrej Martin.

It was an impressive day for qualifiers as three players continue through to the Round of 16 following consecutive days on court, with Dutch young gun Holger Vitus Nodskov Rune downing the aforementioned Baez 6-3 6-2, whilst Chilean Alejandro Tabilo defeated Jozef Kovalik 6-1 0-6 6-4 and Juan Pablo Varillas downed Joao Sousa. One match remains, with a duo of wildcards in hometown hope Gonzalo Lama and Argentinian Juan Manuel Cerundolo just beginning.

CHILE OPEN ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

[Q] Holger Vitus Nodskov Rune (NED) defeated [Q] Sebastian Baez (ARG) 6-3 6-2
[7] Federico Coria (ARG) defeated Gianluca Mager (ITA) 4-6 7-6 7-6
[8] Federico Delbonis (ARG) defeated Jaume Munar (ESP) 6-4 6-7 6-4
Andrej Martin (SVK) defeated [SE] Francisco Cerundolo (ARG) 6-1 6-2
[Q] Alejandro Tabilo (CHI) defeated Jozef Kovalik (SVK) 6-1 0-6 6-4
[Q] Juan Pablo Varillas (PER) defeated Joao Sousa (POR) 6-4 6-1
[WC] Gonzalo Lama (CHI) v. [WC] Juan Manuel Cerundolo (ARG)

2021 ATP Tour 250 Doha/Marseille/Santiago previews: Fed Express returns

THREE ATP Tour 250 events take place this week, with the biggest talking point being the return of Roger Federer for the first time in more than 12 months. The Fed Express will play at Doha in a strong top-end field, whilst tournaments at Marseille and Santiago also take place this weekend.

DOHA:

Federer’s return to the ATP Tour will be the story of this tournament, regardless of how he goes. The now world number five will be seeded second at this event behind Austrian Dominic Thiem, who has become a Grand Slam winner since the Swiss maestro last played. The top five talents are joined by another Top 10 player in Andrey Rublev who hopes to build on his strong early season form, as an additional four Top 15 players are entered making it a really impressive elite group.

The injury-stricken Gael Monfils returns alongside recent Open Sud de France finalists in David Goffin and Roberto Bautista Agut, and young gun Canadian Denis Shapovalov. The latter is in the form of his life ranked 11th overall, with Goffin is seventh seed but still 14th in the world. Stan Wawrinka rounds out the eight seeds coming in at world number 20, while all the automatic entries are inside the Top 50.

Among those entries are Dusan Lajovic – fresh off an upset win over Daniil Medvedev at Rotterdam – as well as Lorenzo Sonego – who defeated Novak Djokovic late last year – and Alexander Bublik – who claimed an upset win over Alexander Zverev last week – who will be threats to the Top 20 players. Croatian Borna Coric and Brit Daniel Evans are other Top 30 players in the draw, while Australian John Millman will be searching for that all-important first win in an individual event for 2021.

No one is expecting Federer to storm to a title straight off the bat as much as that would be a fairytale, however he would be the sentimental favourite. Much more likely is a Thiem-Rublev final which would be entertaining, with Shapovalov and Goffin the others in-form.

 

MARSEILLE:

The two players considered the next Grand Slam winners will face-off in Marseille, with world number three Daniil Medvedev and world number six Stefanos Tsitsipas entered as the top two seeds. The Russian top seed will be wanting to improve on his shock first round loss to Lajovic last start, and will be fresh here, while Tsitsipas will be looking to continue his Rotterdam form if he does indeed play. Third seed Karen Khachanov is the other Top 30 player, with the draw thinning out after the top six.

Young guns Ugo Humbert and Jannik Sinner continue to follow each other around the world at the same tournaments and remain danger men to any player above them, whilst Kei Nishikori‘s recent form – which included wins over Felix Auger-Aliassime and Alex de Minaur at Rotterdam – has the sixth seed in the mix as well. Compatriot Yoshihito Nishioka and Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina round out the eight seeds at the event, with France unsurprisingly well represented in Marseille.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will be back again to try and grab a win in his second 2021 start, joined by the likes of Lucas Pouille and Pierre-Hugues Herbert as automatic entries. Brit Cameron Norrie and Belarusian Egor Gerasimov have shown potential at different points this year, while young Finn Emil Ruusuvuori is another one to watch out for.

Tsitsipas will arguably start favourite, with a final against Medvedev the dream for onlookers, but you can never discount Humbert or Sinner with their potential.

 

SANTIAGO:

By far the weakest draw mainly due to the clay surface, the 250 event in Santiago will draw some of the lower ranked clay court specialists to try and grab a win. Cristian Garin will be the strong favourite for the event, seeded first as 22nd in the world, while 29th ranked Frenchman Benoit Paire is the other Top 50 player. After that it drops off with third seed Pablo Andujar (57th) and fourth seed Laslo Djere (60th) also entering.

Recent maiden title winner Juan Manuel Cerundolo, as well as Chilean Nicolas Jarry have earned wildcards at the event, with Jarry the other home nation hero after Garin in the main draw. The lowest automatic entry outside of wildcards is 128th ranked Slovakian Jozef Kovalik who reached a quarter final at Cordoba, while the likes of Marco Cecchinato, Salvatore Caruso and Jaume Munar are others to watch.

This is Garin’s tournament to win. His favourite surface, a weakened draw, it is hard not to see him lifting the cup, with perhaps the red-hot Cerundolo his biggest challenger, alongside the unpredictable but talented clay courter in Cecchinato.

Picture credit: Julian Finney

ATP 250 wraps: Popyrin and Bublik to battle for maiden title in Singapore; upsets galore in Cordoba

TWO very different scenarios in Montpellier and Singapore were reached, with the top two players making the Open Sud de France final, as two title-less ATP Tour opponents will engage in the Singapore decider.

Whilst the other two tournaments have thrown up more than their fair share of surprises, the end result for the Open Sud de France effectively remains as you would expect by the final. Top seed Roberto Bautista Agut and second seed David Goffin both reached the final after respective semi-finals victories in different conditions.

Bautista Agut knocked off German qualifier Peter Gojowczyk in straight sets, 7-5 6-1 and heads into the final as favourite having not dropped a set all tournament and looking strong. The match lasted one hour and 15 minutes, with the Spaniard looking clinical thanks to his 84 per cent success rate off his first serve, and a 71 per cent efficiency. He broke Gojowczyk four times from 11 chances, whilst saving three of the German’s own break point opportunities throughout the game.

Goffin’s semi-final win over Belarusian Egor Gerasimov was indicative of his tournament, having a tougher challenge than his final opponent, with his second third-set win in the three matches. He won 6-4 2-6 6-4 over Gerasimov who has proven to be quite the handful for opponents over time, having knocked out Andy Murray in the Round of 32 here. In the semi-final, Goffin served one more ace (7-6), and whilst his serving was lower (62 per cent to 70 per cent efficiency) he still broke the same amount of times (three) and managed to break exactly even on the total amount of points (91 from 182) to get the job done.

OPEN SUD DE FRANCE SEMI-FINALS:

[1] Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) defeated [Q] Peter Gojowczyk (GER) 7-5 6-1
[2] David Goffin (BEL) defeated Egor Gerasimov (BLR) 6-4 2-6 6-4

 

In Singapore, a new ATP Tour title-winner will be crowned after Australian Alexei Popyrin and Kazakhstan’s Alexander Bublik won their respective semi-finals to advance to the 2021 Singapore Tennis Open final. Popyrin defeated third seed Croatian Marin Cilic in straight sets, though they were in two tight tiebreakers, while Bublik toppled Macedonian Radu Albot in a come-from-behind victory, 2-6 6-3 6-4.

Popyrin, ranked 114th in the world was in his first ever semi-final, but he stood the test of time against the far more experienced Cilic, winning 7-5 in the first set tiebreaker and then 7-2 in the second set tiebreaker, in just under two hours. The big-serving Australian outserved the powerful Croatian with 15 aces to nine, and won 77 and 63 per cent of his first and second serve points compared to Cilic’s 69 and 53 per cent. Despite this, both players only had one break each, but Popyrin was better when it counted.

By comparison, the 23-year-old world number 46 Bublik had to fight back from a disappointing first set to post a win over Albot in 90 minutes of game play. The Kazakh put down 12 aces to two, and won 75 per cent of his first serve points. Both players broke twice, but Bublik’s came in the second and third sets respectively after the Macedonian did it twice in the first set.

Bublik and Popyrin have never played before, with the 21-year-old Australian having a career win-loss record of 18-30 compared to Bublik’s 41-43.

SINGAPORE SEMI-FINALS:

Alexei Popyrin (AUS) defeated [3] Marin Cilic (CRO) 7-6 7-6
[4] Alexander Bublik (KAZ) defeated [6] Radu Albot (MCE) 2-6 6-3 6-4

 

Someone in Cordoba decided to rip up the script in the quarter finals, with all four matches going the way of the lower ranked player. Remarkably, Argentina came close to having a monopoly in the semi-finals with three of the four compatriots advancing, but even stranger was the fact that the one that did not was top seed Diego Schwartzman.

The tournament favourite suffered defeat at the hands of Albert Ramos-Vinolas in three sets, 6-1 4-6 6-3. The Spaniard needed two and a half hours to dismiss Schwartzman in front of home fans, breaking his opponent five times to two, and winning 67 per cent of his second serve points compared to Schwartzman’s 38 per cent. He will now go on to face Argentinian qualifier Facundo Bagnis who smashed Slovakian Jozef Kovalik 6-1 6-2 in just 70 minutes to advance through to the semi-finals. Bagnis was dominant on serve, saving both break points and winning all bar 12 points on his serve, whilst breaking Kovalik four times in the process.

The other semi-final will feature two Argentinians, with Federico Coria taking on Juan Manuel Cerundolo. Coria defeated the inconsistent Benoit Paire, 6-3 6-2 and knocked out the second seed in 86 minutes on court. Paire’s serving was right off with four aces to five double faults, and winning a lowly 59 and 30 per cent of his first and second serves. By comparison, the world number 95 – now the second highest ranked player remaining – won 69 and 64 per cent of his first and second serve points, and broke six times to two throughout the one-sided match. Cerundolo on the other hand had to defeat Brazilian seventh seed Thiago Monteiro in three sets, 6-2 2-6 6-3 to pave his way into the final four.

CORDOBA QUARTER FINALS:

[5] Albert Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) defeated [1] Diego Schwartzman (ARG) 6-1 4-6 6-3
Federico Coria (ARG) defeated [2] Benoit Paire (FRA) 6-3 6-2
[Q] Juan Manuel Cerundolo (ARG) defeated [7] Thiago Monteiro (BRA) 6-2 2-6 6-3
[Q] Facundo Bagnis (ARG) defeated Jozef Kovalik (SVK) 6-1 6-2

Picture credit: Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images

ATP 250 wraps: Albot upsets Mannarino in Singapore as top seeds advance in Montpellier

IT was a huge day of ATP Tour action across the globe, as we look at how the matches went down in Montpellier, Singapore and Cordoba with the quarter finals completed in two tournaments, and the Round of 16 wrapped up in the latter one.

Looking at Montpellier, the top two seeds remain on a crash course to meet in the Open Sud de France final after winning their quarter finals in style to now take on unseeded opponents in the semis. In a tournament where nothing has been as expected, number one seed Roberto Bautista Agut, and number two seed David Goffin both provided some stability with comfortable victories.

Bautista Agut won 6-3 6-3 over talented sixth seed Frenchman Ugo Humbert, while Goffin dispensed of seventh seed Italian Lorenzo Sonego, 6-4 6-4. Bautista Agut needed 75 minutes to knock off Humbert, dominating off his consistent serve, only dropping three points off his first serve, and 11 in total, while Humbert could not get his usual power off his serve going, matching the more steady Bautista Agut with three aces each. Goffin also only served the three aces, defeating Sonego in 86 minutes, breaking three times to one which was enough to salute in straight sets fashion.

In the battle of the unseeded players, Belarusian Egor Gerasimov came back from a set deficit to post a win over Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, 4-6 6-4 7-5. The match lasted two hours and 29 minutes, with Gerasimov producing 16 aces and breaking five times to four in an impressive performance against the rising Spaniard. Meanwhile German qualifier Peter Gojowczyk – who defeated highly rated compatriot Jan-Lennard Struff in the first round – continued his run with a 6-4 6-1 victory over Dennis Novak. The match lasted 83 minutes, with Gojowczyk saving both break points he faced, whilst capitalising on four of 13 against the Austrian. His serving efficiency was poor at 45 per cent, but he made the most of it when it did go in, only dropping three points off his first serve.

Gerasimov takes on Goffin in the first semi-final on Court Patrice Dominguez today, while Bautista Agut faces Gojowczyk in the other semi-final.

OPEN SUD DE FRANCE QUARTER FINALS:

[1] Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) defeated [6] Ugo Humbert (FRA) 6-3 6-3
[2] David Goffin (BEL) defeated [7] Lorenzo Sonego (ITA) 6-4 6-4
Egor Gerasimov (BLR) defeated Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (ESP) 4-6 6-4 7-5
[Q] Peter Gojowczyk (GER) defeated Dennis Novak (AUT) 6-4 6-1

 

In Singapore, top seed Adrian Mannarino was the major casualty of an otherwise as expected day, with two other top four seeds, and the higher ranked Australian in an all-Australian battle, moving through to the semi-finals. Mannarino suffered a straight sets defeat against tricky Macedonian Radu Albot who has found form of late, getting up 6-3 6-4 in an impressive performance. Albot served five aces without a double-fault and broke three times to one throughout the 95-minute match, only dropping four points on his second serve to be able to recover well.

Following him into the final four were third seed Marin Cilic, fourth seed Alexander Bublik, and Australian Alexei Popyrin. Cilic was able to fight back from a disappointing second set to post a three-set victory over Soonwoo Kwon in the match of the day. The match lasted exactly two hours, and with 18 aces and an 80 per cent first serve success rate, the Chilean veteran proved too powerful for the Korean, breaking a fourth time in the deciding set.

Bublik took care of Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka in straight sets, 6-3 6-2 in 73 minutes and serving 15 aces to zero. He faced nine break points and remarkably saved them all, whilst making the most of his opportunities with three breaks from six chances. Meanwhile, Popyrin defeated compatriot and wildcard Matthew Ebden, 6-4 7-6 in one hour and 25 minutes. The winner put up 14 aces to three and broke the only opportunity created in the match, whilst controlling his serve to only lose 16 points on serve at a high 76 per cent success rate.

Cilic will now face Popyrin in the first-up semi-final today, before Albot and Bublik lock horns in the match straight after for a spot in the final.

SINGAPORE QUARTER FINALS:

[6] Radu Albot (MCE) defeated [1] Adrian Mannarino (FRA) 6-3 6-4
[3] Marin Cilic (CRO) defeated [8] Soonwoo Kwon (KOR) 6-2 2-6 7-5
[4] Alexander Bublik (KAZ) [5] Yoshihito Nishioka (JPN) 6-3 6-2
Alexei Popyrin (AUS) defeated [WC] Matthew Ebden (AUS) 6-4 7-6

 

The time difference in Cordoba, Argentina means that the Round of 16 was completed overnight, with the quarter finals set to take place today. Aside from a shock loss to third seed Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic, the results went as planned, with three top eight seeds all knocking out their unseeded opponents. It also meant the home nation has four representatives in the quarter finals, with the potential to be an all-Argentinian final four if they can somehow get up.

Argentinian qualifier Juan Manuel Cerundolo caused the one big upset of the day, toppling Kecmanovic in a come-from-behind win. After dropping the first set in a tiebreaker, Cerundolo held firm in the second set, and ran away with it in the third to secure a 6-7 7-5 6-2 victory. The match lasted two hours and 19 minutes, with Cerundolo breaking six times to three, and winning 64 per cent of both his first and second serve points, while Kecmanovic only managed 44 per cent success off his second serve and his inconsistent form of late continued.

The other three-setter was fifth seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas who survived a scare from another Argentinian qualifier in Tomas Martin Etcheverry, 2-6 7-6 7-5. The match went for a whopping two hours and 49 minutes before Ramos-Vinolas could finally shake off his lower ranked opponent, needing to break a third time during the win. Both players served five aces, but it was Etcheverry who won more overall points, being better on serve and return, but Ramos-Vinolas just found a way to win.

The other two results were fairly straightforward with top seed Diego Schwartzman winning 6-2 6-2 over Italian clay courter Marco Cecchinato, while seventh seed Brazilian Thiago Monteiro accounted for unseeded Spaniard Roberto Carballes Baena, 6-3 6-4. Looking to the quarter finals today, Monteiro takes on Cerundolo and Schwartzman faces Ramos-Vinolas, while in the other ones, Federico Coria matches up against second seed Benoit Paire, while Argentinian qualifier Facundo Bagnis meets Slovakian Jozef Kovalik.

CORDOBA ROUND OF 16:

[1] Diego Schwartzman (ARG) defeated Marco Cecchinato (ITA) 6-2 6-2
[5] Albert Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) defeated [Q] Tomas Martin Etcheverry (ARG) 2-6 7-6 7-5
[7] Thiago Monteiro (BRA) defeated Roberto Carballes Baena (ESP) 6-3 6-4
[Q] Juan Manuel Cerundolo (ARG) defeated [3] Miomir Kecmanovic (SRB) 6-7 7-5 6-2

Picture credit: ATP Tour

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

Day 2 at Cologne and Sardinia sees tough battles

DAY 2 in both Cologne, Germany and Sardinia, Italy started with a bang with a couple of intriguing matches headlining the respective ATP 250 tournaments. It was a successful day for Spanish competitors across the two tournaments, while a couple of Italians were dealt unlucky hands taking on compatriots.

It was a rough day for Great Britain at Cologne, with both top ranked Brit Kyle Edmund and former world number one Andy Murray defeated in straight sets. Edmund put up a tough fight against South African Lloyd Harris, battling hard for the 7-5 7-6 result, to no avail. The two hour battle saw neither player really able to pull away with the momentum, although Harris’ marginally better service games proved critical, winning 64 per cent of his service points to Edmund’s 59 per cent. Wildcard Murray took the court in the final match of the day and was taken down by a hasty Fernando Verdasco, 6-4 6-4. With seven aces for two double faults and a more consistent first serve efficiency (65 per cent overall compared to Murray’s 51 per cent), Verdasco disposed of Murray with ease to proceed through to the second round. 

Joining Verdasco and Harris in the second round is eight seed Marin Cilic, who defeated lucky loser Marcos Giron in an intriguing three-setter, 6-2 4-6 6-3 in two and a half hours. Cilic racked up nine aces but five double faults, making it out with a solid 76 per cent winning efficiency off his first serve. Meanwhile, homegrown talent and wildcard Daniel Altmaier contested hard against Swiss qualifier Henri Laaksonen but could not come up with a win in the tough 3-6 6-3 7-6 battle, while in other games, Alejandro Davidovich Fokina and Gilles Simon came away with straight sets wins to head into the second round.

COLOGNE ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

[Q] Lloyd Harris (RSA) defeated Kyle Edmund (GBR) 7-5 7-6
[8] Marin Cilic (CRO) defeated Marcos Giron (USA) 6-2 4-6 6-3
Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (ESP) defeated [Q] Emil Ruusuvuori (FIN) 7-5 6-4
[Q] Henri Laaksonen (SUI) defeated [WC] Daniel Altmaier (GER) 3-6 6-3 7-6
Gilles Simon (FRA) defeated Marton Fucsovics (HUN) 6-0 6-3
Fernando Verdasco (ESP) defeated [WC] Andy Murray (GBR) 6-4 6-4

It was a frustrating day for homegrown talent at the Sardinia Open, with two pairs of Italians facing off forcing Giulio Zeppieri and Gianluca Mager to the sidelines, while Andreas Seppi also went down in straight sets. On the winning front though, fifth seed Lorenzo Sonego and wildcard Marco Cecchinato defeated their respective compatriots while a couple of Spaniards in Pablo Andujar and Roberto Carballes Baena also joined the winners list.

The two seeds of the day in Sonego and Andujar were tested at points by Zeppieri and Jozef Kovalik respectively, with the latter match between Andujar and Kovalik down to the wire for a 7-5 7-5 result. The battle between the two Italians saw Sonego dominate the first set before Zeppieri bit back in the second, ultimately going down in an hour and 39 minutes, but faring well regardless of the final score in what was a solid serving match from both players. While Sonego was impressive off the first serve winning 82 per cent of points, Zeppieri was not far behind on 71 per cent making for a tight contest. In the other all-Italian battle, Cecchinato was dealt a tough hand by Mager who battled hard for a first set win, contesting well in the second before failing to maintain the same intensity in the third 5-7 7-6 6-2. 

In other games, just one of the two Argentinians made it through to the second round with Federico Delbonis downing Seppi but Federico Coria unable to contend with Carballes Baena. Meanwhile, Laslo Djere downed Sumit Nagal in 70 minutes.

SARDINIA ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

[5] Lorenzo Sonego (ITA) defeated Giulio Zeppieri (ITA) 6-2 7-6
[6] Pablo Andujar (ESP) defeated [Q] Jozef Kovalik (SVK) 7-5 7-5
Roberto Carballes Baena (ESP) defeated Federico Coria (ARG) 7-5 6-4
[WC] Marco Cecchinato (ITA) defeated Gianluca Mager (ITA) 5-7 7-6 6-2
Federico Delbonis (ARG) defeated Andreas Seppi (ITA) 7-5 7-6
Laslo Djere (SRB) defeated [Q] Sumit Nagal (IND) 6-3 6-1

Norrie comes from behind to stun Schwarzman in “two dogs with no serves” match

UNSEEDED Brit, Cameron Norrie has stunned the US Open followers with a massive come-from-behind five-set win against Diego Schwartzman to book a spot in the second round. The 25-year-old world number 76 defied heavy odds to win just his second career match in five sets, and his fifth in 50 games coming from a set down. This was not just one set down, but two, with Norrie having to overcome a two sets to love deficit with Schwartzman leading 6-3 6-4, before hitting back to win 3-6 4-6 6-2 6-1 7-5.

The match was a record-breaker for its whopping 58 break points, as it went to almost four hours in matchplay – three hours and 58 minutes – before Norrie was able to get back and win following five broken service games in the opening two sets. Norrie actually trailed again in the fifth at 3-5 and then saved two match points in the deciding set, before he broke Schwartzman for the 11th time in the match at 6-5 to take out the win.

“I’m not sure it’s too good of a record to be holding, but I think it had a lot to do with how he returns. It was tough to get free points out there,” Norrie said post-match. “It’s nice to be part of that [record] and it shows that it was just two dogs out there battling with no serves really. “It was a good match and I guess I’ll take the record.”

The total breakdown of break points was Norrie winning 11 of 31, whilst Schwartzman recorded eight of 27. The Brit said he was thankful to get through the scrap ahead of his second round match with Argentinian, Federico Coria who also came from two sets down to level the match before opponent Jason Jung was forced to retire 2-0 down in the fifth set.

“I was just real happy that I stayed patient and didn’t snap too much,” Norrie said. “I think I could have easily snapped at missing that many returns, especially against a guy [who doesn’t have] a huge serve. “I think my attitude won it for me today… sometimes you’ve got to win ugly, I think.”

Whilst Norrie’s win was the biggest in terms of opposition ranking, Schwartzman was not the only casualty on day one, with big serving American, and number one player from the home nation in John Isner exiting after a five-set thriller against compatriot, Steve Johnson. While Isner is the worst first round opponent when it comes to trying to warm up upon return games, Johnson did his best, weathering a storm of 52 aces from his higher ranked opponent, while producing 22 himself.

Johnson is no slouch on serve, and he won a whopping 85 per cent of his first serve points – more than Isner, but crucially was able to break twice and not be broken himself in a blockbuster smashing fest. The match lasted three hours and 50 minutes, with Isner smashing 91 winners to Johnson’s 74 during the 6-7 6-3 6-7 6-3 7-6 victory. Now the 30-year-old must advance through to take on Lithuania’s Ricardas Berankis in the second round.

At the top end of the seeds, the like of Novak Djokovic, Alexander Zverev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and David Goffin all advanced, though Zverev and Goffin dropped sets to challenging opponents in Kevin Anderson and Reilly Opelka.

Jordan Thompson flew the flag for Australia, booking his spot in the Round of 64 with a win over Italian Stefano Travaglia, and he will now take on Egor Gerasimov. The Belarusian upset 18th seed Dusan Lajovic in four sets, 6-1 4-6 6-4 6-4 in two hours and 26 minutes to make his way through. It was better news for his compatriot Filip Krajinovic on the same court later in the day, defeating Swede Mikael Ymer in straight sets.

The only other seed who looked in trouble on day one that came close to losing outside of those who did, was 13th seed Chilean Cristian Garin who had a less-than-convincing five-set win over United States’ Ulises Blanch.

The 244th 22-year-old stunned the world number 19 early in the match, winning the first two sets, 6-4 7-5, before Garin wrestled back control at 4-4 in the third to win six of the next eight games and level the match at two sets apiece. The Chilean then went on with it to win the match 4-6 5-7 6-4 6-4 6-2 in just over three hours of matchplay.

In terms of young guns, American teenager Brandon Nakashima defeated Italian Paolo Lorenzi in straight sets to book a second round date with Zverev, while 168th ranked 23-year-old Maxime Cressy knocked out Jozef Kovalik to have just as tough of a challenge in the next round against Tsitsipas. Mitchell Kreuger and Marcos Giron joined 19th seed Taylor Fritz and former top 10 player Jack Sock, as the other Americans through to the next round.

In other results, Kyle Edmund knocked off Alexander Bublik to take on the toughest challenge in tennis – Djokovic – while Jan-Lennard Struff remained on track to face the Serbian star again in the third round with a win over Spaniard, Pedro Martinez. Pablo Carreno-Busta, Denis Shapovalov, Borna Coric, Hubert Hurkacz and Adrian Mannarino all advanced through to the next stage of the event, set to face Krueger, Soonwoo Kwon, Juan Ignacio Londero, Alejandro Davidovich Fokina and Sock respectively. Of the remaining unseeded winners, Gilles Simon, Lloyd Harris and Mikhail Kukushkin all made it through.

At the time of publishing, United States’ Michael Mmoh had the advantage over Portugal’s Joao Sousa, leading two sets to one, entering into the fourth set.