It’s been a mixed start for home players at the Mubadala Citi DC Open in Washington with Frances Tiafoe and Michael Mmoh progressing into the third round whilst Ben Shelton, Sebastian Korda and Mackenzie McDonald crashed out in the second round of the ATP 500-level event.
I'm just happy to get through. He's a tough player, he's made the semis of a Grand Slam and he's very, very dangerous. Very tough first round Frances Tiafoe
Tiafoe, a native of Washington DC and the second seed, survived a tough opening match but eventually came through 7-6(5) 7-6(5) against the 29-year-old Aslan Karatsev who missed out on a set=point at 5-4 in the second set.
The 25-year-old American also had to recover from 3-5 down in the second set tie-break but put together a run of four consecutive points to snatch the victory after two-hours and nine-minutes of tense play.
“Unbelievable match tonight. It was so tight all the way through, he really made me earn it,” Tiafoe said in his on-court interview. “I’m just happy to get through. He’s a tough player, he’s made the semis of a Grand Slam and he’s very, very dangerous. Very tough first round.”
There were no breaks of serve during the encounter and Tiafoe, who had a first round bye, will now face for the first time, 18-year-old Chinese star Shang Juncheng who took out the 14th seeded Ben Shelton 6-2 3-6 6-3.
Earlier in the day Mmoh produced the upset of the day by upending the fourth seed from Poland Hubert Hurkacz in a match that went the distance 6-3 6-7(4) 7-6(4). saving three match points in the process.
The Pole also had a match point which was saved forcing the pair into a deciding third set where the American held his nerve with some aggressive play.
Elsewhere, Emil Ruusuvuori of Finland took out former finalist and tenth-seed from Japan, Yoshihito Nishioka 6-7(5-7), 6-4, 6-2 while in first round play, Brandon Nakashima of the US got the better of Aleksandar Vukic of Australia 7-6(5) 7-6(9) and was joined by his compatriot, qualifier Zachary Svajda who defeated Australia’s Max Purcell 4-6 7-6(2) 7-5 but a third Aussie, Thanasi Kokkinakis upset Taro Daniel of the US 2-6 6-4 6-4 as did his compatriot Jordan Thompson who eliminated Kevin Anderson of South Africa and a wild card entry, 6-4 6-7(1) 6-1.
Britain has three players in the 64 player draw with Liam Broady the only one to have seen action so far and he joined Andy Murray and Dan Evans in round two with a satisfying 7-6(0) 6-4 win over France’s Corentin Moutet.
After opening round byes, Murray as the 15th seed, faces Brandon Nakashima on Wednesday while Evans, seeded nine, takes on Frenchman Gregoire Barreer