Tag: mikael ymer

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 Round of 32 wrap: Medvedev survives five-setter as top seeds advance

SIX of the eight top 16 seeds will compete in the fourth round of the Australian Open, after all the higher ranked players won on day six of the Grand Slam. Seeds featured in seven of the eight matches, three of which were all seeds. In the sole unseeded match, United States’ Mackenzie McDonald won in straight sets over South African Lloyd Harris to be the clear underdog in the bottom half of the draw.

The match of the day was easily fourth seed Daniil Medvedev‘s five-set win over 28th seed Serbian Filip Krajinovic. The Russian looked to have everything under control early, before Krajinovic hit back wiht the next two sets. The fourth seed steadied in the final set to storm away and win 6-0 in the fifth for a 6-3 6-3 4-6 3-6 6-0 victory.

Medvedev dominated in terms of serving with 15 aces to two, whilst winning 77 per cent of his first serve points to the Serbian’s 64 per cent. Krajinovic made the most of his chances at the net however, winning 35 of 47 approaches and hit only three less winners when excluding aces (34-37).

“He played unbelievable, especially in the fourth set,” Medvedev said post-match. “Third set I had some chances… He raised his level. I tried to change my position on the return in the fifth set and it seemed to be working well, I guess.”

Compatriot Andrey Rublev advanced through to the fourth round in easier fashion, defeating veteran Spaniard Feliciano Lopez, 7-5 6-2 6-3. Of the eight players winning through, two were the Russian seeds, and the other two were the Italian seeds. Matteo Berrettini fought off a determined Karen Khachanov to win in three tiebreakers 7-6 7-6 7-6, while 16th seed Fabio Fognini was too strong for the last Australian man in Alex de Minaur.

Fognini won 6-4 6-3 6-2 in the later match, whilst over on Rod Laver Arena, second seed Rafael Nadal booked his spot in the Round of 16 with a straight sets win over Great Britain’s Cameron Norrie. Also through to the next stage were fifth seed Greek talent Stefanos Tsitsipas who defeated Swede Mikael Ymer in straight sets, while 24th seed Norwegian Casper Ruud make his first ever Grand Slam fourth round appearance with a four-set win over Moldovan Radu Albot.

Ruud was clinical in his win, having never made it into an Australian Open third round before, producing nine aces to three against Albot. He won 50 of 58 first serve points, and was more clinical on his second serve with a 63 per cent success rate. Ruud also broke five times from 12 chances compared to Albot’s two from five.

The fourth round matches set up from the day’s results sees Nadal and Fognini going head-to-head to play the winner of Tsitsipas and Berrettini. In the other quarter, Medvedev and McDonald lock horns, as Rublev and Ruud do battle as well. In today’s matches, top seed Novak Djokovic will face 14th seed Canadian Milos Raonic, whilst up the other end, Felix Auger-Aliassime takes on Russian qualifier Aslan Karatsev. In the other two matches, third seed Dominic Thiem and Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov will face off, while Alexander Zverev takes on Dusan Lajovic.

ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

[2] Rafael Nadal (ESP) defeated Cameron Norrie (GBR) 7-5 6-2 705
[4] Daniil Medvedev (RUS) defeated [28] Filip Krajinovic (SRB) 6-3 6-3 4-6 3-6 6-0
[5] Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) defeated Mikael Ymer (SWE) 6-4 6-1 6-1
[7] Andrey Rublev (RUS) defeated Feliciano Lopez (ESP) 7-5 6-2 6-3
[9] Matteo Berrettini (ITA) defeated [19] Karen Khachanov (RUS) 7-6 7-6 7-6
[16] Fabio Fognini (ITA) defeated [21] Alex de Minaur (AUS) 6-4 6-3 6-4
[24] Casper Ruud (NOR) defeated Radu Albot (MDA) 6-1 5-7 6-4 6-4
[PR] Mackenzie McDonald (USA) defeated Lloyd Harris (RSA) 7-6 6-1 6-4

Picture credit: ATP Tour

Australian Open Men’s Round of 64 wrap: Tsitsipas survives epic thriller from brave Kokkinakis

A NEVER-say-die attitude from fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas and Australian favourite Thanasi Kokkinakis was on full display in yet another Rod Laver classic match yesterday at the Australian Open. The second round encounter had the Greek star overwhelming favourite against the talented local who has battled with injuries over the past few years, but clearly has the talent to be a top ATP Tour player.

In an unbelievable four-hour and 32-minute slog fest, Tsitsipas finally got up 6-7 6-4 6-1 6-7 6-4 but Kokkinakis lost no fans along the way – including Tsitsipas himself – having pushed the 2019 ATP Finals winner to the brink.

“I think he has a huge forehand, [a] very good serve,” Tsitsipas said of Kokkinakis’ game post-match. “All the potential is there. I really hope he stays injury-free, because it can be very frustrating. I have dealt with it, and I know it’s very difficult mentally to go through things like this. “I just wish him good health and that he can compete an entire year without any pain or anything bothering him.”

Kokkinakis had a well balanced game and out-served Tsitsipas with 23 aces to 17 and two less double faults (8-10), though the Greek star won 86 and 56 per cent of his first and second serve points compared to 72 and 46 per cent. The big factor was the break point conversions, with Tsitsipas breaking five times from 22 chances to the Australian’s zero from three. The fifth seed also hit 78 winners to 58, and 16 less unforced errors (46-62).

“[It was a] great match towards the very end, and I fought like a lion,” Tsitsipas said. “I fought like a real warrior out there, and it was an amazing ending with lots of emotion and great spirit.”

Tsitsipas will have to recover quickly to take on Swede Mikael Ymer tomorrow who took care of Spanish qualifier and wonderkid, Carlos Alcaraz after dropping the first set, 2-6 6-4 6-4 7-5. Ymer was one of just six unseeded players to advance through to the next round, with most at the expense of Australians. Macedonian Radu Albot knocked off wildcard Christopher O’Connell in straight sets, 6-2 7-5 7-6, while South Africa’s Lloyd Harris needed five sets to post a win over another wildcard in Alexei Popyrin, 6-2 1-6 6-3 6-7 6-3. After only dropping one game in his first match, Russian qualifier Roman Safiullin was brought back to earth, losing in four sets to Great Britain’s Cameron Norrie.

The only two other unseeded players to make it to the Round of 32 were those who knocked out a couple of seeds in United States’ Mackenzie McDonald and Spain’s Feliciano Lopez. McDonald knocked off 22nd seed Croatian Borna Coric 6-4 6-2 4-6 6-4, while Lopez toppled 31st seed Lorenzo Sonego 5-7 3-6 6-3 7-5 6-4 coming back from two sets to love down to win in three hours and 18 minutes over the Italian out on Court 7.

It was certainly an interesting day for the Italians to say the least, with 16th seed Fabio Fognini and compatriot Salvatore Caruso going toe-for-toe over five sets on John Cain Arena, and then a little more post-match. Fognini won 4-6 6-2 2-6 6-3 7-6, including 14-12 in the deciding tiebreak, where the Top 20 player was questioning Caruso’s luck throughout the match and the supervisor had to physically separate them. Nonetheless, Fognini joined fellow ATP Cup finalist, Matteo Berrettini in the next round after his younger compatriot knocked off Czech rising qualifier, Tomas Machac in four sets.

Other winners on the day were Russian duo, Andrey Rublev and Karen Khachanov who waltzed through in straight sets, as did the top two players on display in the night session, Rafael Nadal and Daniil Medvedev. Alex de Minaur was the sole Australian through to the next round in that half of the draw, joining Nick Kyrgios in the third round of the men’s competition, while Casper Ruud and FIlip Krajinovic also won though after defeating their respective opponents in four sets.

Entering the third round tomorrow, there are a number of mouthwatering clashes, as Berrettini and Khachanov do battle, as do de Minaur and Fognini. Russian pair Medvedev and Rublev seem to have an easier run to a potential quarter final now with 24th seed Ruud and 28th seed Krajinovic the sole remaining seeds in that quarter of the draw.

In today’s action, all eyes will be on the all-Canadian battle between Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime, as well as the blockbuster battle between third seed and last year’s runner-up Dominic Thiem taking on Australian Nick Kyrgios. Adrian Mannarino locking horns with Alexander Zverev is an underrated battle, while 27th seed Taylor Fritz will take his shot at world number one and tournament favourite Novak Djokovic.

ROUND OF 64 RESULTS:

[2] Rafael Nadal (ESP) defeated [Q] Michael Mmoh (USA) 6-1 6-4 6-2
[4] Daniil Medvedev (RUS) defeated Roberto Carballes Baena (ESP) 6-2 7-5 6-1
[5] Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) defeated [WC] Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) 6-7 6-4 6-1 6-7 6-4
[7] Andrey Rublev (RUS) defeated Thiago Monteiro (BRA) 6-4 6-4 7-6
[9] Matteo Berrettini (ITA) defeated [Q] Tomas Machac (CZE) 6-3 6-2 4-6 6-3
[16] Fabio Fognini (ITA) defeated Salvatore Caruso (ITA) 4-6 6-2 2-6 6-3 7-6
[19] Karen Khachanov (RUS) defeated Ricardas Berankis (LTU) 6-2 6-4 6-4
[21] Alex de Minaur (AUS) defeated Pablo Cuevas (URU) 6-3 6-3 7-5
[PR] Mackenzie McDonald (USA) defeated [22] Borna Coric (CRO) 6-4 6-2 4-6 6-4
[24] Casper Ruud (NOR) defeated Tommy Paul (USA) 3-6 6-2 6-4 7-5
[28] Filip Krajinovic (SRB) defeated Pablo Andujar (ESP) 6-2 5-7 6-1 6-4
Feliciano Lopez (ESP) defeated [31] Lorenzo Sonego (ITA) 5-7 3-6 6-3 7-5 6-4
Radu Albot (MDA) defeated [WC] Christopher O’Connell (AUS) 6-2 7-5 7-6
Lloyd Harris (RSA) defeated [WC] Alexei Popyrin (AUS) 6-2 1-6 6-3 6-7 6-3
Mikael Ymer (SWE) defeated [Q] Carlos Alcaraz (ESP) 2-6 6-4 6-4 7-6
Cameron Norrie (GBR) leads [Q] Roman Safiullin (RUS) 3-6 7-5 6-3 7-6

Picture credit: Peter Staples/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: Aussie upsets rule day two

IT was a memorable day for the home nation at the Australian Open, as four more Aussies moved through to the second round of the Grand Slam yesterday. Two of those results were major upsets, with none bigger than wildcard Alexei Popyrin‘s come-from-behind five set win over 13th seed David Goffin. The Australian won 3-6 6-4 6-7 7-6 6-3 in three hours and 43 minutes, hitting 50 winners to 42, and capitalising off his second serve to put the Belgian away.

The result marked Goffin’s second first round exit to start 2021, after going down to Spanish young gun Carlos Alcaraz in the lead-up tournament. Speaking of Alcaraz, he booked his passage into the second round with a comprehensive 6-1 6-4 6-4 victory over fellow qualifier, Dutchman Botic Van de Zandschulp. Remarkably there were three all-qualifier battles out on court today, with rising Czech talent Tomas Machac overcoming Spaniard Mario Viella Martinez when leading two sets to one and 3-0 in the fourth before Martinez retired hurt. American Michael Mmoh was the other qualifier to oust a fellow qualifier, defeating Viktor Troicki in a 7-6 6-7 3-6 7-6 7-5 in a whopping four hours and six minutes.

For all of Mmoh’s great work, he gets the reward of playing Rafael Nadal in the second round, with the King of Clay shrugging off the talented Laslo Djere in straight sets, 6-3 6-4 6-1. Roman Safiullin was the fourth qualifier to make it through to the next round, toppling Ilya Ivashka of Belarus, 6-4 6-3 6-4 to set up a date with Cameron Norrie in the Round of 64. The Brit talent upset his top ranked compatriot Daniel Evans, with the 30th seed coming off his maiden ATP Tour title just two days earlier.

Back on the Australians, 21st seed Alex de Minaur took out 2020 Australian Open quarter finalist, Tennys Sandgren in three sets, 7-5 6-1 6-1 to move through to the Round of 64. Joining him were compatriots Thanasi Kokkinakis who made his successful return via a straight sets win over Soonwoo Kwon, and Christopher O’Connell who stunned German talent Jan-Lennard Struff by saving six break points and only conceding 23 unforced errors in the 7-6 7-6 6-1 victory. The other big upset of the day was Moldovan Radu Albot stunning 12th seed Roberto Bautista Agut in four sets. Bautista Agut expressed his displeasure in being locked away in quarantine for two weeks, but due to his first round performance can now sightsee for another fortnight, having gone down to Albot 6-7 6-0 6-4 7-6.

Looking at the top seeds, all bar Goffin made it through, with only Karen Khachanov dropping a set – to Australian wildcard Aleksandar Vukic – and Casper Ruud winning via a Jordan Thompson retirement whilst two sets to love up. Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Andrey Rublev, Matteo Berrettini, Fabio Fognini, Borna Coric and Lorenzo Sonego breezed through to the second round without dropping a set, while Filip Krajinovic (28th seed) had to go to four sets to win against Dutchman Robin Haase. Aside from Goffin and Evans, the third seed to bow out at the first hurdle was 26th Polish seed, Hubert Hurkacz who went down to Swede Mikael Ymer in five sets after leading two sets to one, 3-6 6-3 3-6 7-5 6-3.

Of the unseeded battles, There were a number of Americans who made it through in Tommy Paul and Mackenzie McDonald joining Mmoh in the next round, while Spanish trio Feliciano Lopez, Pablo Andujar and Roberto Carballes Baena all made it into the Round of 64. Elsewhere, Uruguay’s Pablo Cuevas set up a second round date with di Minaur, while South Africa’s Lloyd Harris, Italian Salvatore Caruso, Brazillian Thiago Monteiro and Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis all won their respective singles matches.

Looking to day three, it will be a mini-ATP Cup style battle between Canada and Australia when Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime take on Bernard Tomic and James Duckworth respectively with the winners of those clashes to face off. Nick Kyrgios will have a stern test against 29th seed Ugo Humbert, while Alex Bolt also takes on a seed in 18th seed Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov. A couple of exciting matches to watch out for include 32nd seed Adrian Mannarino up against Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic, while another Serbian Dusan Lajovic takes on Alexander Bublik. Top seed Novak Djokovic will look to fend off the Americans as he takes on Frances Tiafoe in the second round before facing the winner of 27th seed Taylor Fritz, and his compatriot Reilly Opelka.

ROUND OF 128 RESULTS:

[2] Rafael Nadal (ESP) defeated Laslo Djere (SRB) 6-3 6-4 6-1
[4] Daniil Medvedev (RUS) defeated Vasek Pospisil (CAN) 6-2 6-2 6-4
[5] Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) defeated Gilles Simon (FRA) 6-1 6-2 6-1
[7] Andrey Rublev (RUS) defeated Yannick Hanfmann (GER) 6-3 6-3 6-4
[9] Matteo Berrettini (ITA) defeated Kevin Anderson (RSA) 7-6 7-5 6-3
Radu Albot (MOL) defeated [12] Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) 6-7 6-0 6-4 7-6
[WC] Alexei Popyrin (AUS) defeated [13] David Goffin (BEL) 3-6 6-4 6-7 7-6 6-3
[16] Fabio Fognini (ITA) defeated Pierre-Hugues Herbert (FRA) 6-4 6-2 6-3
[19] Karen Khachanov (RUS) defeated [WC] Aleksandar Vukic (AUS) 6-3 6-7 7-6 6-4
[21] Alex de Minaur (AUS) defeated Tennys Sandgren (USA) 7-5 6-1 6-1
[22] Borna Coric (CRO) defeated Guido Pella (ARG) 6-3 7-6 7-5
[24] Casper Ruud (NOR) defeated Jordan Thompson (AUS) 6-3 6-3 2-1 RET
Mikael Ymer (SWE) defeated [26] Hubert Hurkacz (POL) 3-6 6-3 3-6 7-5 6-3
[28] Filip Krajinovic (SRB) defeated Robin Haase (NED) 7-6 6-3 4-6 6-2
Cameron Norrie (GBR) defeated [30] Daniel Evans (GBR) 6-4 4-6 6-4 7-5
[31] Lorenzo Sonego (ITA) defeated Sam Querrey (USA) 7-5 6-4 6-4
[Q] Carlos Alcaraz (ESP) defeated [Q] Botic Van de Zandschulp (NED) 6-1 6-4 6-4
Pablo Andujar (ESP) defeated [Q] Quentin Halys (FRA) 6-4 7-5 7-5
Ricardas Berankis (LTU) defaeted [WC] Sumit Nagal (IND) 6-2 7-5 6-3
Roberto Carballes Baena (ESP) defeated Attila Balazs (HUN) 7-5 3-6 6-2 6-3
Salvatore Caruso (ITA) defeated [Q] Henri Laaksonen (SUI) 6-2 6-4 6-3
Pablo Cuevas (URU) defeated Andreas Seppi (ITA) 6-4 4-6 6-2 6-2
Lloyd Harris (RSA) defeated [LL] Mikael Torpegaard (DEN) 4-6 6-3 6-2 6-2
[WC] Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) defeated Soonwoo Kwon (KOR) 6-4 6-1 6-1
Feliciano Lopez (ESP) defeated [WC] Li Tu (AUS) 6-7 6-4 7-6 6-4
[Q] Tomas Machac (CZE) defeated [Q] Mario Vilella Martinez (ESP) 6-7 7-5 6-0 3-0 RET
[PR] Mackenzie McDonald (USA) defeated Marco Cecchinato (ITA) 3-6 6-3 6-2 6-2
[Q] Michael Mmoh (USA) defeated [Q] Viktor Troicki (SRB) 7-6 6-7 3-6 7-6 7-5
Thiago Monteiro (BRA) defeated Andrej Martin (SVK) 7-6 6-1 6-2
[WC] Christopher O’Connell (AUS) defeated Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) 7-6 7-6 6-1
Tommy Paul (USA) defeated Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO) 6-4 7-6 6-4
[Q] Roman Safiullin (RUS) defeated Ilya Ivashka (BLR) 6-4 6-3 6-4

Picture credit: Brandon Malone/AFP

Hamburg finalists fight back from two-set deficits to stage remarkable first round wins

STEFANOS Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev are lucky to survive the first round of the French Open after slow starts almost cost the Hamburg European Open finalists. A tight turnaround between the ATP500 event and the Grand Slam meant some soreness for the talented top 15 players, but neither would have expected to go two sets down against their respective opponents at Roland Garros.

In a match that lasted three hours and 12 minutes, it took the fifth seeded Tsitsipas five sets to come from behind against world number 109, Jaume Munar. Whilst the rising Spanish 23-year-old has shown some promising signs over the past couple of years, he almost caused the upset of the first round by racing away to a 6-4 6-2 lead against the Hamburg runner-up. It was clear Tsitsipas was not his usual self throughout the match, serving just six aces – as well as six double-faults, and hitting 54 winners throughout the contest.

Munar played well with 38 of his own winners and won 36 per cent of his points off Tsitsipas’ serve, breaking him five times from seven opportunities. With just 21 unforced errors Munar had an incredible game, but Tsitsipas stepped up when it counted to win 4-6 2-6 6-1 6-4 6-4.

Relieved just to get a win, Tsitsipas said he was not feeling it early on and struggled to get into the game, but was pleased to work his way back into the contest.

“Playing a best-of-five [match] can be very challenging and I am really happy that I will walk away from [Court] Suzanne-Lenglen today with a win,” Tsitsipas said post-match.

“I don’t think I’ve ever played a match like this before. “The emotions and the nerves at the very beginning were not there, but [I made] slight adjustments and tried to find a way to win, a different way. “It wasn’t working out for me in the beginning. Nothing was working… But I am really proud of myself, the effort I put in and the amount of dedication.”

Rublev had a tougher challenge against a highly rated Sam Querrey, in what was a titanic struggle over three hours and 17 minutes. Querrey stepped up in the opening two set tiebreakers to claim a 2-0 love, and was at 5-2 with a break in hand. It seemed as though the Hamburg champion was headed for an early exit at Roland Garros, before the Russian won five consecutive games – breaking his opponent twice – to take the third set. From there, Rublev had the momentum and he never lost it, winning 6-7 6-7 7-5 6-4 6-3.

It was Rublev’s first win at Roland Garros and now he sets his sights on a clay court talent in Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina who defeated French teenager, Harold Mayot for a spot in the Round of 64, 7-6 6-3 7-5. It was not a good day for the French with the home nation representatives dropping like flies. Aside from Mayot, Gilles Simon, Richard Gasquet, Ugo Humbert, Gregoire Barrere and Quentin Halys all lost on day three, leaving just three Frenchmen in the Round of 64.

Simon put up a fight against ninth seed Canadian Denis Shapovalov before the youngster and newest top 10 player won 6-2 7-5 5-7 6-3, while Humbert won a set but had a shock loss to Australian lucky loser Marc Polmans in a disappointing defeat for a player who last start knocked off world number four Daniil Medvedev, 6-2 6-2 3-6 6-3. Halys took Marcos Giron to five sets but lost 8-6 in the fifth in a four-hour and 22-minute loss, while Gasquet and Barrere were beaten in straight sets by seeds, Roberto Bautista Agut and Grigor Dimitrov.

Meanwhile number one seed Novak Djokovic looked like he had some place to be, dismantling rising Swede Mikael Ymer in just 98 minutes, 6-0 6-2 6-3 barely breaking a sweat on his way to the second round. The only quicker match was Roberto Carballes Baena stunning Steve Johnson 6-1 6-1 6-0 in 83 minutes, almost unheard of for a three-set match. Matteo Berrettini had a similarly one-sided result against Vasek Pospisil 6-3 6-1 6-3, while Cristian Garin and Dusan Lajovic both made their way into the Round of 64 with four-set wins over Philipp Kohlschreiber and Gianluca Mager respectively.

Way out on Court 12, Brazilian clay courter Thiago Monteiro added to a horror fortnight for 31st seed Nikoloz Basilashvili after the clay courter lost in the first round defending his Hamburg title, and then was bundled out in straight sets first-up against Monteiro at Roland Garros, 7-5 6-4 6-2. In unseeded matches, Slovenia’s Andrej Martin, Uruguay’s Pablo Cuevas, South African duo Lloyd Harris and Kevin Anderson, Lithuania’s Ricardas Berankis and Hungary’s Attila Balazs all advanced through to the next stage of the tournament.

Picture: Peter Staples/ATP Tour

2020 ATP Roland Garros preview: Can Nadal win number 13?

RAFAEL Nadal is always the nominal favourite at Roland Garros, probably because he has only lost three matches there in his entire career, of which one was via retirement. The King of Clay will be keen to bounce back from a shock loss to Diego Schwartzman in Rome to really put a stamp on his favourite event and extend his ridiculous lead at the top of the French Open titleholders.

With the draw released yesterday, it was announced unseeded Belarusian Egor Gerasimov has the near-impossible task of taking down the 12-time winner, with Nadal’s run to the third round fate-accompli with a likely matchup against the winner of first round battle, Daniel Evans and Kei Nishikori.

The entire quarter of the draw has some big names, but mostly in the top eighth, with Alexander Zverev (sixth seed) and David Goffin (11th) in there. Goffin has a tough first-up match with Italian young gun Jannik Sinner in one of the danger games for a seed, while 23rd seed Frenchman Benoit Paire lost his only match since returning from a positive COVID-19 test result and if he finds form could face Goffin the third round. Australian Alex de Minaur reached his first Grand Slam quarter final at the US Open but after an easier first round qualifying opponent, has Zverev for likely company in the third round.

If we are talking about matches to look forward to, then look no further than Dominic Thiem‘s quarter of the draw. The back-to-back runner-up will not have to wait until the final to play his nemesis Nadal, landing in the same half as him. Gael Monfils is up the other end of the quarter taking on in-form Alexander Bublik in a tough first-up game. Thiem himself has to take on Marin Cilic, but should have him comfortably covered on clay.

The match of the first round has to be 16th seed Stan Wawrinka up against wildcard Brit, Andy Murray. Both are Grand Slam winners and to draw in the first round is an unbelievable event. Murray is also the last wildcard you would want to face if you are Wawrinka. Also in that draw we see a ton of Americans and Frenchman running around, including teenager Hugo Gaston who if he can overcome compatriot Maxime Janvier, could have a crack at fellow young gun, Felix Auger-Aliassime in the second round. Schwartzman takes on rising Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic in the first round, whilst Casper Ruud is in line to face Thiem in the third round if he can make it.

Without Thiem in his half, it is hard to see Novak Djokovic not reaching the final as the third best clay courter in the world. He has drawn improving Swede, Mikael Ymer in the first round, and has an overall smooth draw to the fourth round, with just Hubert Hurkacz in his way. A third round clash between Cristian Garin and Karen Khachanov would be on the cards for the right to play Djokovic in the fourth round which would be the Serb’s first test.

Australian John Millman has fallen in this quarter of the draw, up against Pablo Carreno Busta in what will be a tough, but winnable game for the Australian. The match of that eighth has to be seventh seed Matteo Berrettini up against Vasek Pospisil, with the in-form Canadian showing in recent weeks what he can do now he is back within the automatic entry for Grand Slams. Jan-Lennard Stuff takes on Frances Tiafoe in the first round too, while Roberto Bautista Agut has drawn Richard Gasquet in a match that will possibly be the longest of the seeded games.

In the second quarter of the draw, the best players yet to win a Grand Slam are in line to face off in a quarter final with fourth seed and US Open semi-finalist Daniil Medvedev and fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas falling here. Medvedev has the dangerous Marton Fucsovics in the first round, while Tsitsipas takes on improving Jaume Munar. The quarter might not have the op-end quality in terms of other seeds, but they have some seriously talented clay courters.

Nikoloz Basilashvili is a known performer on clay, as is Dusan Lajovic and Filip Krajinovic, all who fall into the quarter. Denis Shapovalov and Andrey Rublev do not always have the consistency in their game, but they, along with the ever-dangerous Grigor Dimitrov round out the seeds. The match of this quarter is likely unseeded pair, Serbian Laslo Djere and Kevin Anderson, with Djere favoured due to the service. Keep an eye out for young Frenchman, Harold Mayot who takes on Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.

Top 5 Matches to Watch:

[16] Stan Wawrinka (SUI) vs. [WC] Andy Murray (GBR)
[11] David Goffin (BEL) vs. Jannik Sinner (ITA)
[3] Dominic Thiem (AUT) vs. Marin Cilic (CRO)
[7] Matteo Berrettini (ITA) vs. Vasek Pospisil (CAN)
[32] Daniel Evans (GBR) vs. Kei Nishikori (JPN)

Prediction:

Nadal to defeat Djokovic in four sets, with Thiem and Tsitsipas to lose in the semis. Expect a surprise quarter finals opponent for Thiem, with either Schwartzman or Coric potentially getting there over Monfils. Medvedev, Zverev and potentially Bautista Agut to round out the final eight, with Berrettini’s form of late a little shaky.

Picture: Getty Images

Internazionali BNL d’Italia sees Nadal return among a flurry of WTA players to the clay

THE Internazionali BNL d’Italia qualifying rounds are almost done and dusted making for an intriguing full draw at both the men’s and women’s Italian Open. While all US Open semi-finalists were given the first round of competition off to recover from the quick turnaround in competitions – and countries – just one ATP Tour player from the latter stages of the US Open will take the court in Rome. Interestingly, the same did not go for the WTA Tour with US Open runner-up Victoria Azarenka drawn in the first round.

That one player is Spaniard, Pablo Carreno Busta who had a fantastic run to the semi finals at Flushing Meadows before bowing out to US Open runner up, Alexander Zverev in a mammoth five setter. He will be glad to have the extra break coming into his second round matchup though, taking on compatriot Rafael Nadal in the Round of 32. Having won here nine times, and back-to-back in 2018/19, it is safe to say Nadal will be feeling confident despite his lack of competitive court-time in the lead-up to the event.

Youngster Felix Auger-Aliassime comes in as 16th seed in the draw, and said that having Nadal back out on the court for the first time since the initial forced closure of competitions is a good time to come back, with very few players having clay court time prior to the tournament. 

“I think it’s great and especially he’s the big favourite here. We’ll see how he feels in his first match back since the break,” Auger-Aliassime said. “But for sure having those top guys still in the game is obviously great for the sport.

It’s a good mix and it’s a good time for tennis to come back both with these upcoming players and these great champions still in those draws. “We’re not going to get many tournaments in [on clay], so you’ve got to try and be sharp from the start. It’s already a big tournament here in Rome with big players lined up. I’ve been doing the most trying to adapt to the best that I can. “But we’ll see how it goes. “For sure you have to be ready to adapt and fight through your wins.”

Nadal comes into the draw as second seed just behind Novak Djokovic, who was fouled out of the US Open making for an interesting run at the Italian Open. Like the two aforementioned Spaniards, Djokovic will have a bye in the opening round, as will two homegrown talents in fourth and seventh seeds Matteo Berrettini and Fabio Fognini. Stefanos Tsitsipas, Gael Monfils, David Goffin and Diego Schwartzman round out the top seeds who will miss the Round of 64.

Making their way into the main draw through qualifying are a trio of Italians hoping to perform on  home soil, with Marco Cecchinato, Lorenzo Musetti and Giulio Zeppieri hoping to join seven of their compatriots in the main draw, while Mikael Ymer, Alejandro Davidovich Fokina and Australian Open quarter finalist, Tennys Sandgren will also hope to push through the third and final round of qualifiers to prepare for the upcoming Roland Garros. 

On the WTA Tour, qualifiers are done and dusted with a couple of quality names through to the main draw. As with the men’s draw, the top eight seeds will skip the Round of 64, seeing Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova lead the way, and Pliskova hoping to go back-to-back in Rome.  Also among the seeds are Elina SvitolinaKiki Bertens and Belinda Bencic, all of whom have not yet taken the court since the resumption of the tour.

With the main draw fully sorted, some key match-ups will see US Open runner-up Azarenka look to go one better than the weekend when she takes on a somewhat out of form Venus Williams, with the winner set to take on Australian Open champion Kenin in the second round. Youngster Iga Swiatek could be pushed by Arantxa Rus who has been in fine form flying through qualifiers but the Polish 18-year-old made the third round at the US Open and the fourth round at the Roland Garros last year, so will be gearing up for a tough challenge on the clay. Meanwhile, Elena Rybakina may be 10th seed but will have a tough opposition in Ekaterina Alexandrova to begin the tournament, having lost both their prior matches this year.

A couple of wildcard Italians will hit the court, with the expected names in Camila Giorgi, Jasmine Paolini and Elisabetta Cocciaretto all vying for first round wins, especially Giorgi who has a huge first round matchup with Dayana Yastremska, with the Italian getting the chocolates in their most recent battle at Palermo in August.

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.