Karen Khachanov reaches the second round in Monte-Carlo for the second year in a row
Karen Khachanov beat Thanasi Kokkinakis 7-5 6-4 in one hour and 50 minutes in overcast weather conditions in their first head-to-head match to reach the second round at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters.
The young Russian player dropped just 19 points in 11 service games and never faced a break point. Kokkinakis, who beat Roger Federer in Miami, saved 11 of the 13 break points he faced. Khachanov dropped just si points on his first serve and got a break in each set to reach the second round.
Khachanov earned three break points in the fifth game, but Kokkinakis saved them. The Australian player fired a service winner in the ninth game to save another break point for 5-4. Khachanov broke serve in the 11th game, when Kokkinakis sent a forehand long, earning a chance to serve for the set in the next game. The 2017 ATP Next Gen Finals qualifier hit a service winner to seal the opening set 7-5 after 59 minutes.
The first four games of the second set went on serve. Kokkinakis fended off a break point in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead. In the seventh game Khachanov converted his fourth break point chance to take a 4-3 lead, when Kokkinakis hit a poor backhand. Khachanov hit four winners to close out the second set 6-4.
Misha Zverev beat Canadian 17-year-old Next Gen player Felix Auger Aliassine 6-2 6-7 (4-7) 6-1 in two hours and 36 minutes. Zverev went up a double break to race out to a 4-1 lead. Auger Aliassine pulled one break back in the next game for 2-4 but Zverev converted his second break point in the seventh game and served out for the first set at 30.
Zverev led by a set and 3-1 in the second set, but the Canadian wild-card broke back in the eighth game to draw level to 4-4 before winning the second set in the tie-break. Zverev got a double break in the fourth and six games to seal the third set 6-1.
Danil Medvedev came back from one set down to beat Marton Fucsovics 6-7 (4-7) 6-2 7-5. The young Russian player will face the winner of the match between 2015 Monte-Carlo finalist Tomas Berdych and Kei Nishikori. Medvedev earned the first break in the sixth game to take a 4-2 lead. Fucsovics broke back in the ninth game and held his serve to draw level to 5-5. The Hungarian player sealed the first set at the tie-break by 7-4. Medvedev got a double break in the third and seventh games to win the second set 6-2. The third set went on serve until the 11th game, when Medvedev sealed the win with a decisive break.
Andreas Seppi, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Pierre-Hugues Herbert, Jeremy Chardy, Dusan Lajovic, Marco Cecchinato and Ilya Ivashka qualified for the main draw.