There were plenty of upsets at the warmup events for the Australian Open with players, just released from their 14-day quarantine confinement, trying to adjust to their new-found freedom at the two tournaments being played alongside each other on the Melbourne Arena courts
It was a long time since I’ve played a match, especially in front of people. It wasn’t an easy one, because I had to play against a tough opponent who is a great player. Corentin Moutet
One of the first to crash out in the Murray River Open, was Frances Tiafoe who was outlasted by the young French star Corentin Moutet who overcame a sluggish start to defeat the 62-ranked American 3-6 6-4 6-4 after two-hours and seven-minutes.
“It was so nice to play a match,” the 21-year-old Moutet said afterwards. “It was a long time since I’ve played a match, especially in front of people. It wasn’t an easy one, because I had to play against a tough opponent who is a great player. A tough match, but definitely a lot of pleasure.”
In contrast his compatriot Richard Gasquet, seeded 14, was edged out in straight sets by Mackenzie McDonald who served up eight aces against the former World No. 7 en route to his 7-6(2) 7-5 victory.
The American will play Alex Bolt who defeated Thanasi Kokkinakis in an all-Aussie first-round clash.
“I’ve been working hard. [Had] a lot of preparation,” McDonald said. “I’m really excited to be playing matches again. I haven’t had many opportunities to come back after my injury, so I just want to keep playing good tennis and get back to where I belong.”
The 15th seed Tommy Paul had a bit of a battle to make the second round as Cameron Norrie failed to hang on to his excellent start before capitulating after two-hours and 21-minutes, 4-6 7-6(2) 6-3.
There was bad news for the Aussie camp when Bernard Tomic withdrew from his opening match citing a knee injury.
He was due to play fellow Australian and world No.125 Marc Polmans with the prospect of a victory then possibly pitching him up against Nick Kyrgios which as a match, many locals were looking forward to!
Tomic has been replaced by Harry Bourchier, another Aussie and world No.303, who made the most of the opportunity to score his first career win at Tour level 6-4 6-4.
Earlier in the day, No.265-ranked wildcard Kubler scored one of the biggest-ever wins of his career to eliminate ninth-seeded Italian Lorenzo Sonego 3-6 6-3 6-4 to secure his third victory at Tour level.
“It means a lot,” Kubler said on the importance of his win. “He’s such a great player. I got sent some of the matches he’s played to scout him out a little bit and a lot of, It’s good for my confidence, especially after injury, to know I’m heading in the right direction. I think I can improve a lot of things, but it’s a little pat on the back.”
In other first-round action today, Aussie wildcard Li Tu’s ATP debut ended in a tight two-set loss to Portugal’s Pedro Sousa and Spain’s Albert Ramos-Vinolas defeated another home wildcard Blake Mott.
Britain’s No.1 Dan Evans, the eighth seed’ is scheduled to appear on Tuesday’s Oder of Play and will take on Pedro Sousa of Portugal.