Rublev breezes through to second round

Three years after making his tour-level debut at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament, Stefanos Tsitsipas rallied from a set down to record his first victory at the ATP 500 event on Tuesday.

From a set and 0-2 down, the reigning Nitto ATP Finals champion won 12 of 14 games to beat Hubert Hurkacz 6-7(2), 6-3, 6-1 after two hours and seven minutes. Tsitsipas, who improves to 5-1 in his ATP Head2Head rivalry against Hurkacz, converted six of 11 break points and won 81 per cent of first-serve points (38/47) en route to victory.

”The beginning of the match was quite unusual. I was quite nervous. I’ve never left here with a win… I just felt uncomfortable from the beginning,” Tsitsipas said. “Then I found my way in the second set [and] got back on my feet. I think my fighting spirit made it work. I was just waiting for my moment.”

The World No. 6 improves to 3-3 this year. Tsitsipas began his 2020 ATP Tour season with a 1-2 record at the inaugural ATP Cup, before a third-round loss to eventual quarter-finalist Milos Raonic at the Australian Open.

Tsitsipas will face Aljaz Bedene for the first time in the second round. The 30-year-old broke Benoit Paire’s serve on four occasions to secure a 6-2, 6-4 win after 63 minutes.

Andrey Rublev recorded his 12th win in 13 matches this year, racing past Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-2, 6-3. The four-time ATP Tour titlist needed just 55 minutes to advance to the second round, dropping only two points behind his first serve (20/22). Rublev levels his ATP Head2Head series against Basilashvili at 2-2, adding to his previous victory against the Georgian at last year’s Western & Southern Open.

Rublev is bidding to capture his maiden ATP 500 trophy this week. The 22-year-old, competing at a career-high No. 15 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, has already lifted trophies at ATP 250-level in Doha and Adelaide this year. Rublev currently sits in fifth position in the ATP Race To London, only trailing the four men to reach this year’s Australian Open semi-finals: Novak Djokovic, Dominic Thiem, Roger Federer and Alexander Zverev.

Attempting to reach his second quarter-final at the opening ATP 500 event of the season (2018), Rublev will face Alexander Bublik in the second round. The Kazakh saved both break points he faced in a 6-3, 6-7(2), 6-4 victory against French qualifier Gregoire Barrere.

Serbian Filip Krajinovic won eight of the last nine games in his convincing 6-4, 6-1 victory over Dutch wild card Tallon Griekspoor. Awaiting him in the second round is the winner of top-seeded Russian Daniil Medvedev and Canadian Vasek Pospisil.