British No.2 Cameron Norrie was in top form at the Nature Valley International battling through a tough contest against German qualifier Daniel Brands, 7-5 6-7(4) 6-2.
Norrie, who earned himself a second round berth against compatriot Jay Clarke, said he was pleased with how he tackled his first round match in Eastbourne: “I was trying to focus one point at a time, and it kind of felt like one of the challenger matches at the end of last year where I just toughed it out and managed to play my best tennis towards the end and down the stretch,” he said.
It’s been great weather. Every day you can predict the conditions. It’s really nice to play in England in hot weather on the grass. It’s what you want. Kyle Edmund
“Today I was pretty instinctive with my play, and volleyed actually really well. I didn’t come in too much, but he’s hitting the ball big and serving big, so it was pretty difficult for me. But when I did come in, I was pretty clinical. It was a good one for me on the grass.”
He joins former world No.1 Andy Murray, who continues his comeback from hip surgery when he takes on British No.1 Kyle Edmund on Wednesday.
Seeking his first competitive victory over Murray, Yorkshireman Edmund said he was enjoying his 2018 Devonshire Park experience. “The conditions have been nice, especially for quick tennis,” said Edmund. “It’s been great weather. Every day you can predict the conditions. It’s really nice to play in England in hot weather on the grass. It’s what you want.”
Elsewhere Mischa Zverev overcame Nicolas Jarry 3-6 6-1 6-4, to secure a second round assignment against No.7 Steve Johnson who eased past Daniil Medvedev 6-2 6-4.
The German said he was looking forward to the match. “I’m feeling good, every win is good helping with your confidence, and I’m happy with the way I played today,” said Zverev. “I’m looking forward to playing Stevie and enjoying the time here in Eastbourne before Wimbledon.”
Top seed in the men’s tournament, Diego Schwartzman begins his Eastbourne campaign taking on Lukas Lako. Schwartzman said he was feeling confident ahead of his opening match at Devonshire Park on Wenesday.
“Last year I came here, and I felt well, but I lost the first match despite being up the whole time. It was a good experience here in Eastbourne, and now it’s another year and I’m playing better than last year,” the diminutive Argentine said. “I need to train hard here before my first match and get ready for Wimbledon, so this is a really important tournament for me, as I’m trying to improve every year and I think, this year, I’m going to do well on the grass.”
In other men’s action, fifth-seeded Leonardo Mayer beat Gilles Simon 6-4 7-6(4) in their opening round. Mayer took the first set when he broke Simon for the second time after a lengthy final game which saw the Frenchman save four set points.
The second set was even tighter before the Argentine, who served up seven aces, eventually prevailed.