With the reigning Rotterdam champion of the past two years, Gael Monfils, absent and only two other former title holders in the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament’s field, the race to lift the trophy this year is on.
He had a solid game; he was serving well at times. He wasn’t missing a lot, so it was difficult. I think once I put in my head that I needed to fight and I [couldn’t] take [any] single moment for granted, things changed, and I felt the confidence. Stefanos Tsitsipas
Unfortunately for Stan Wawrinka, the 2015 champion and the 2019 runner-up, seeded eight for the event, crashed out to the powerful Russian Karen Khachanov 6-4 7-5 on the second day of the event leaving Andy Murray, champion in 2009, with the heavy task of maintaining former champion’s pride when he faces Andrei Rublev, the inform fourth seeded Russian, to open the evening session on Day 3.
The three-time Grand Slam winner from Switzerland, playing in his first ATP match since losing a five-set epic to the Hungarian Marton Fucsovics at the Australian Open, was dispatched by the world number 21, the big-hitting Khachanov, relatively comfortably as he never once dropped his serve to an opponent ranked one place above him.
“To play against Stan, especially in the first round, is always tough,” Khachanov said. “I am really happy with the win, but there are always things you can improve upon. Mentally, I feel ready and I’m in good shape, so I hope to get some match wins.”
Next up for the 24-year-old is qualifier Cameron Norrie in the last 16 which is scheduled second in the evening session of Day 3.
Rublev matched his countryman to reach the second round and his meeting with Murray, after eliminating American qualifier Marcos Giron 7-6(1) 6-3.
And Murray has no illusions about their forthcoming match as he believes the young Russian is a star of the future.
“He’ll be around at the top of the game for a long time because he’s got a great work ethic,” Murray said. “And he’s a very good player.”
One of the main contenders for this year’s crown is Stefanos Tsitsipas, the second seed, who was in action late on Tuesday when he was pushed all the way by the Belarussian Egor Gerasimov before progressing into the second round.
The Greek star initially struggled to break down the solid Gerasimov before finally getting his act together to win 7-6(4) 7-5 in just under two hours.
“I had to play more consistently and also what I increased in the [key] moments was the speed of my ball, which felt kind of floppy before,” Tsitsipas told ATP Tour.
“He had a solid game; he was serving well at times. He wasn’t missing a lot, so it was difficult.
“I think once I put in my head that I needed to fight and I [couldn’t] take [any] single moment for granted, things changed, and I felt the confidence.”
Next up is the Pole Hubert Hurkacz, who defeated Adrian Mannarino 6-3 7-6(6) after one hour and 47 minutes hammering 17 aces past the Frenchman who led 4-1 in the second set, and held two set points at 5-4.
Opening the day’s play, Alex de Minaur got his Rotterdam debut off to a fine start with a 6-1 6-4 victory over fellow Australian John Millman in 69-minutes and will play Japan’s Kei Nishikori for a place in the last eight.