By Giovanni Vianello
With the big names in the men’s draw yet to play in Indian Wells, Thursday provided an opportunity for the less established players to shine at the Californian tournament.
The first match on Stadium 1 was between Karen Khachanov and Tommy Robredo, who entered the tournament with a Protected Ranking. In the first set the Russian rising star outplayed a very low-performing Robredo with the result being 6-1 in his advantage. In the second set Robredo played better and in the first game gained a break of advantage, making rallies longer, but when it came to serving for the second set, Robredo failed, being afterwards broken another time and succumbing 6-1, 7-5.
“It feel great. It’s my first time here in Indian Wells,” said Khachanov, who won his first Masters 1000 match. “I’ve heard a lot about this tournament and I’m really happy that I could get through to the second round. Today I had to be ready from the first point, concentrate 100 per cent and play my game. That is the main focus in all the matches at the ATP World Tour level. I had to be there the whole match and fight to the end to get the win.”
Khachanov’s reward will be a second round clash with David Goffin in what will be their first meeting on the tour.
Italy’s Paolo Lorenzi, who looks like he’s becoming better with age, eased past Robin Haase. The Italian player went up 4-0 in the first set, got counter-broken once and let Robin Haase recover to 3-4, but the Italian then kept the break and won the first set 6-4. In the second set a similar scenario occurred, Lorenzi gained two breaks (the score was of 5-2), was counter-broken once, but in the end broke the opponent once again, winning the match 6-4 6-3. The world No.38 now faces a clash with Stan Wawrinka.
Australia’s Jordan Thompson was forced to retire in his match against Mikhail Youzhny after injuring his ankle whilst trailing 0-3 in the final set.
— doublefault28 (@doublefault28) 9 March 2017
Adrian Mannarino held his nerve to dismiss Argentina’s Juan Monaco 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-1. The Frenchman went down a break twice in the second set and served for the match on 6-5 in his advantage before losing the tiebreaker. In the third set a no-contest happened as Monaco looked too tired to compete and so Mannarino strolled to straightforward third set triumph.
Barbados player, Darian King, surprisingly won his match against the Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili in 2 sets, 7-5, 7-5.
During an emotional roller-coaster match, Joao Sousa defeated the Argentine Diego Schwartzman 4-6 6-3 6-4. In the first set the Argentinian looked likely to dominate the match, but then, as the match went on, the Portuguese player was able to play at a better level and at first clinched the second set 6-3, then, battled his way through a tricky deciding set.
Indian Wells Men’s Singles Round 1 matches
Alexandr Dolgopolov (Ukraine) beat Viktor Troicki (Serbia) 6-1 6-4
Mikhail Kukushkin (Kazakhstan) beat Jordan Thompson (Australia) 1-6 6-1 3-0 (J. Thompson retired)
Peter Gojowczyk (Germany) beat Reilly Opelka (U.S.) 6-4 3-6 6-1
Paolo Lorenzi (Italy) beat Robin Haase (Netherlands) 6-4 6-3
Karen Khachanov (Russia) beat Tommy Robredo (Spain) 6-1 7-5
Bjorn Fratangelo (U.S.) beat Bernard Tomic (Australia) 6-2 6-2
Vasek Pospisil (Canada) beat Lu Yen-Hsun (Taiwan) 6-7(6) 6-4 6-3
Jeremy Chardy (France) beat Radu Albot (Moldova) 7-6(2) 6-2
Yoshihito Nishioka (Japan) beat Elias Ymer (Sweden) 6-4 6-1
Fabio Fognini (Italy) beat Konstantin Kravchuk (Russia) 0-6 7-5 6-4
Martin Klizan (Slovakia) beat Thiago Monteiro (Brazil) 7-6(6) 6-3
Joao Sousa (Portugal) beat Diego Schwartzman (Argentina) 4-6 6-3 6-4
Darian King (Barbados) beat Nikoloz Basilashvili (Georgia) 7-5 7-5
Dusan Lajovic (Serbia) beat Frances Tiafoe (U.S.) 6-3 6-3
Adrian Mannarino (France) beat Juan Monaco (Argentina) 6-3 6-7(5) 6-1
Kei Nishikori recovers from a slow start to beat Taylor Fritz in Barcelona
Kei Nishikori beat Taylor Fritz 7-5 6-2 after 1 hour and 41 minutes to advance to the second round at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell.
Kei Nishikori raliied from 1-4 down in the first set to reel off 12 of the next 15 games.
Fritz converted his second break point in the fourth game and held his service game to open up a 4-1 lead. Nishikori broke twice in the seventh and eleventh games to take a 6-5 lead. The Japanese player served out the first set 7-5 at deuce after saving a break point.
Nishikori went up a double break in the third and fifth games to seal the second set 6-2.
Nishikori and Fritz met once before in the 2016 Memphis final, when the Japanese player beat his younger US rival to clinch his fourth consecutive Memphis title.
Nishikori bounced back from his opening round defeat against Pierre Hugues Herbert last week in Monte-Carlo.
Nishikori claimed two consecutive titles in Barcelona in 2014 and 2015 and finished runner-up to Rafael Nadal, who won the Barcelona title 11 times.
The Japanese player will face Canadian 18-year-old Next Gen star Felix Auger Aliassime or Tunisia’s Malek Jaziri.
Jaziri came back from one set to beat Guido Andreozzi 6-7 (3-7) 6-4 6-2 after 2 hours and 42 minutes.
Spanish veteran David Ferrer dropped just 11 points in his service points to ease past Germany’s Misha Zverev 6-3 6-1 after 65 minutes. Ferrer will face Frenchman Lucas Pouille in the second round.
Teenager Nicola Kuhn from Spain edged past Argentina’s Federico Delbonis 7-6 (7-3) 4-6 6-2 after 2 hours and 30 minutes scoring the biggest win of his career.
Matteo Berrettini beats Mikhail Kukushkin in Budapest
Italy’s Matteo Berrettini claimed his first win on clay this season with a 6-4 6-4 victory over Mikhail Kukushkin in the opening round of the Hungarian Open.
The first set started with four breaks of serve in the first five games, as Berrettini built up a 4-1 lead. Kukushkin pulled back one of the three breaks in the sixth game for 2-4. Berrettini held his final two games at love to claim the first set 6-4.
Berrettini went up a double break in the first and fifth games to open up a 5-1 lead. The Italian player wasted his first match point. Kukushkin got one break back and saved another match point to hold his service game to win his third consecutive game for 4-5, but Berrettini served out the win at love in the 10th game.
Berrettini set up a second round against Aljaz Bedene, who came back from a double break down in the opening set to beat Bernard Tomic 7-6 (7-3) 6-3.
Radu Albot from Moldova broke serve twice in each set to seal a 7-5 6-4 win over Sergiy Stakhovsky on his fourth match point after 1 hour and 41 minutes setting up a second round against Filip Krajnovic, who edged Andreas Seppi 6-2 6-7 (3-7) 7-5 after wasting four match points in the second set.
Marco Cecchinato has pulled out of the Hungarian Open and will not defend the title he won last year.
Fernando Verdasco wins all-Spanish clash against Feliciano Lopez in Barcelona first round
Fernando Verdasco beat Feliciano Lopez 6-4 6-3 in 81 minutes at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell.
Former Barcelona champion Verdasco, who won this tournament in 2010, improved his win-loss record against his compatriot to 6-5 in their 11 head-to-head matches.
Verdasco claimed his only break point at love to close out the first set 6-4. Lopez got his first break at deuce in the opening game of the second set. Verdasco won four consecutive breaks from 2-3 down with two breaks to wrap up the second set 6-3. Verdasco will face Grigor Dimitrov in the second round.
Taylor Fritz won an all-American first round clash against giant Reilly Opelka 6-3 6-4 after just 55 minutes In the match between two US rising stars Fritz never faced a break point and converted one break point in each set from the four chances he created to cruise into the second round.
Fritz earned the only break in the fifth game of the first set at 15 to take a 3-2 lead after Opelka made a volley error in the fifth game. Fritz hit three service winners in the ninth game to seal the opening set 6-3.
Fritz went up a set and a break in the third game of the second set with a forehand winner. He hit a forehand winner to close out the match, as he was serving for the match at 5-4.
Diego Schwartzman came back from one set down to beat Yoshihito Nishioka 4-6 6-4 6-2.
Nishioka converted his fourth break point in the first game, but Schwartzman broke back in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2. After a trade of breaks in the sixth and seventh games Nishioka saved saved three break points to hold his serve in the eighth game. The Japanese player converted his fifth break point after a double fault from Schwartzman in the ninth game. Nishioka served out the first set at love.
Both players traded breaks twice in the second set en route to drawing level to 4-4. Schwartzman broke serve in the 10th game to close out the second set 6-4. Schwartman reeled off four consecutive games from 2-2 with two breaks of serve to win the third set.
Schwartman was playing his third match in Barcelona because he had to play the qualifying round. He forgot to sign before the tournament deadline.
Argentina’s Leonardo Mayer battled past Marius Copil 6-3 6-7 (3-7) 7-5 after two hours and 36 minutes to score his ninth match win of the season.
Mayer earned his first break to race out to a 3-0 lead and saved four break points at 3-1. He held his final two service games to close out the second set 6-3. Both players saved a total of four break points in the second set to hold their service games en route to the tie-break. Copil earned three mini-breaks to claim the tie-break 7-3 forcing the match to the third set. Mayer got the only break at love in the 12th game to seal the third set 7-5.
German Jan-Lennard Struff cruised past Hugo Dellien 6-3 6-1 after just 51 minutes. Struff saved all three break points and dropped 14 points in 8 service games. He broke once in the fourth game of the first set and three times in a row to seal the win.
Jaume Munar came back from one set down to beat Portuguese qualifier Pedro Souza 2-6 6-4 6-0 setting up a second round match against US Frances Tiafoe. Sousa got four of the six breaks to win the first set 6-4. The second set went on serve until the 10th game, when Munar got his first break on his third chance to close out the second set 6-4. The Spaniard broke three times to take a bagel win in the third set.
Mackenzie McDonald saw off Japan’s Taro Daniel 6-2 6-2 in just 57 minutes. Mackenzie converted four of hi sten break points and dropped nine points in eight service games. He won the final four games of the first set from 2-2 with two breaks to close out the first set 6-2. He got two more breaks in the third and eighth games to wrap up the match with with a forehand crosscourt winner.
Hungary’s Marton Fucsovics cruised past Denis Kudla 6-4 6-1. The Hungarian player saved two break points he faced and converted four of his nine break points.
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