Four matches Wednesday completed the first round of the Erste Bank Open, an ATP 500 tier event being contested in Vienna prior to the Paris Masters 1000 next week, which, in view of the latest restrictions imposed in France, could well be cancelled.
I’m happy that I was relaxed and in that kind of state of mind and mood. I think it helped overall my performance today, Stefanos Tsitsipas
Qualifier Vasek Pospisil upset his Canadian compatriot Felix Auger-Alliasime 7-5 7-5 claiming his victory with breaks in the final game of each set.
The young Canadian hit a double-fault when facing set point in the first, and his opponent converted and claimed his second-round place on his third break point in the second, for what was 30-year-old Pospisil’s first win over 20-year-old Auger-Aliassime in four attempts.
Jannik Sinner, another youngster destined for great things over the coming years,
overcame this year’s Rome Masters 1000 semi-finalist and world number 27 Casper Ruud 7-6(2) 6-3 after 1 hour and 47 minutes.
In what proved a see-saw first set with both players staving off a barrage of set points it was the young Italian who finally edged ahead in the tiebreak converting his first set point.
Sinner opened up a 3-0 lead in the second only for Ruud to level in the fifth game but the Italian regained the initiative to lead 5-3 and held on for his 14th win of the season on his fourth match point to set up an intriguing second round match with the in-form Russian, Andrey Rublev, the fifth seed.
Reigning ATP Finals champion Stefanos Tsitsipas recovered from one set down in his 6-7(3) 6-3 6-4 battle with Jan-Lennart Struf in what was a hard-hitting contest between two strong servers.
After one hour and 52-minutes Tsitsipas, the third seed, looked comfortable and satisfied with his performance.
Neither player could break in the first set with the German eventually prevailing in the tiebreak. It wasn’t until the eighth game of the second, that Tsitsipas got the first break of the match to win the second set when Struff netted his forehand.
Then bizarrely, after the pair held their opening serves in the decider, Tsitsipas felt the need to change his shoes!
On resumption the Greek star immediately broke Struf for what proved to be the decisive break for a second round place and a meeting with Hungary’s Grigor Dimitrov.
“I’m happy that I was relaxed and in that kind of state of mind and mood. I think it helped overall my performance today,” Tstsipas said following his victory.
“I think Jan played good today and we were both serving well, playing well from the baseline. I would not say there were many rallies. It was a demonstration of serves and I managed to overcome the difficulties that were presented in his service games”, he added.
In contrast, Daniil Medvedev the fourth seed from Russia, cruised into the second round after just 65-minutes with a 6-3 6-1 win over Taipei’s Jason Jung, a Lucky Loser entry.
Medvedev was in total control and any opportunity his opponent gained were immediately squashed as he strode into round two and a meeting with Vasek Pospisil.
“It was a great start, I think. The most important thing in the first round is to win. We always see tough matches in the first round, so I am really happy to be through and looking forward to the next matches”, said Medvedev.
At the Astana Open in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, two seeds tumbled out on the third day of the tournament.
Frances Tiafoe knocked out Miomir Kecmanovic requiring just 81 minutes to dispatch the Serbian second seed 7-5 6-3 for his second quarter-final of the season.
Also out is the local boy Kaz Bublic, seeded six, who was outplayed by Mackenzie McDonald of the US 6-3 6-2 in what was one of the last of the first-round matches. In the other Mikhail Kukushkin made up for his compatriot’s loss by scoring a satisfying 6-7(3) 6-3 6-2 win over Federico Delbonis of Argentina.
In the remaining two second round matches scheduled for the day, Aussie John Millman, seeded 4, advanced with a solid 6-3 6-4 victory over the Spanish veteran Fernando Verdasco while Belarussian Egor Gerasimov fought his way past the Czech Jiri Vesely 4-6 6-3 6-4.