It’s never easy making the transition from clay to grass so getting through that first match is a satisfying experience as both Jannik Sinner did at the Libema Open in Den Bosch and his countryman Lorenzo Musetti at the Boss Open in Stuttgart.
Every match I try to play my level, try to improve and obviously I am trying to go as far as possible. Jannik Sinner
Both eased past their opposition in second round action following opening round byes as seeds going through in straight sets.
Sinner’s downed the dangerous Kazak Alexander Bublik 6-4 6-2 hitting eight aces and dropping just five points on his first serve without facing a single break-point throughout.
“Against him it is never easy to play,” Sinner said to the ATP. “He serves very good, he can play every kind of shot, so I had to be very careful. From my side, I think I served well in important moments. For me this is a special tournament, because in 2019 I won my first match on grass here, and obviously the support [here] is always very nice… It means a lot.”
At 21-years-of age he acknowledges he still has a lot to earn.
“I’ve grown up, but I’m still young,” the Italian youngster added. “I learned many things. My position is very different, much better, but I know that I can still improve a lot. Every match I try to play my level, try to improve and obviously I am trying to go as far as possible.”
American Mackenzie McDonald produced the biggest upset of the day when he knocked out third-seeded Borna Coric 6-4 6-4 and nearly matched Sinner by losing just six points on his first serve.
Finland’s Emil Ruusuvuori meanwhile saw off the seventh seed Frenchman Ugo Humbert 6-2 6-7(6) 6-4 and Aussie Rinky Hijikata battled past the Swiss Marc-Andrea Huesler 2-6 7-5 6-3.
Turning to Stuggart, the eighth seeded Musetti produced a classy display to see off Frenchman Gregoire Barrere 6-3 6-3 after saving all seven break-points he faced in the 96-minute encounter.
“Today I think I played really great tennis,” the 21-year-old Italian said. “I showed that I can play really, really well even on grass. I surprised [myself] a little bit, because I was serving really big, especially in the important moments.
“I’m really happy because Gregoire is a really good player and I was thinking he could be a tough opponent, but today I think I showed a really great level.”
In the other three matches played, Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz was two points form defeat before he recovered to get past Japan’s Yosuke Watanuki 4-6 7-6(5) 7-6(5) and meets Christopher O’Connell in the next following the Aussie’s 7-6(5) 6-3 win over Lorezo Sonego of Italy.
The fourth player to reach the quarterfinal was Frances Tiafoe, who after a tricky opening set, prevailed over the Czech Jiri Lehecka 7-6(2) 6-4.
In Nottingham Liam Broady lost 7-6(4) 6-4 to Japan’s Sho Shimabukuro as did his fellow Brit. Arthur Fery, 20, defeated by Germany’s Dominic Koepfer 6-4 6-2.
The third Brit in action was George Loffhagen who battled his way into the quarter final with a very satisfactory 6-4 5-7 6-3 win over China’s Juncheng Shang.