Top seed Thiem to begin his Kitzbuehel run on Wednesday
Maximilian Marterer notched his first victory at the Generali Open on Tuesday, beating Jurgen Zopp 6-4, 3-6, 6-3. The 23-year-old German fired 11 aces and saved six of seven break points to advance after two hours.
Marterer improved to 17-15 at tour-level this season and increased his FedEx ATP Head2Head lead over the Estonian to 2-0. Zopp entered Kitzbuehel in fine form, having reached his first tour-level semi-final from qualifying last week at the J. Safra Sarasin Swiss Open Gstaad (l. to Berrettini).
Marterer will face Kazakh Mikhail Kukushkin for a spot in the quarter-finals. Kukushkin came from a set down to beat #NextGenATP Frenchman Corentin Moutet 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 on Monday.
Gstaad champion Matteo Berrettini extended his unbeaten streak to six, beating fifth seed Gilles Simon of France 1-6, 6-3, 6-4. The 22-year-old Italian broke Simon three times and advanced after one hour, 55 minutes. Berrettini will next face Radu Albot of Moldova, who beat Slovakian Jozef Kovalik 6-1, 6-3.
Taro Daniel needed just 78 minutes to eliminate seventh seed Jan-Lennard Struff 7-6(3), 6-1. The TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Open titlist won 86 per cent of first-serve points and did not face a break point en route to victory.
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Daniel will meet Laslo Djere in the second round. Djere, who reached the semi-finals in Gstaad last week, beat newly-crowned Hamburg champion Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-3, 6-3.
Hamburg semi-finalist Nicolas Jarry continued his solid run of form, beating Ecuador Open winner Roberto Carballes Baena 7-6(3), 6-7(5), 6-4. The Chilean will play third seed Fernando Verdasco for a spot in the last eight.
Did You Know? Top seed Dominic Thiem is bidding to become the second Austrian to win the Generali Open. In 1993, Thomas Muster became the first Austrian champion in Kitzbuehel, beating Javier Sanchez in straight sets.
Britain’s Andy Murray beat Mackenzie McDonald 3-6 6-4 7-5 in the Washington Open’s first round in his fourth match following hip surgery in January.
Murray, 31, converted his seventh match point after more than two-and-a-half hours on court against the American.
“Mentally, it was a big one to get through,” said former world number one Murray. “I fought hard and I had to. The movements and stuff were fine.”
He will now play fellow Briton Kyle Edmund, 23, in the second round.
Britain’s Boulter beats Krunic in Washington
Norrie loses to Harrison in Atlanta semi-final
Edmund beat Murray at Eastbourne in the third match of his return during the grass-court season before the Scotsman pulled out of Wimbledon as he felt it was “too soon” to play five-set matches following his rehabilitation.
“I’ll have to play much better if I want to win that match, more aggressively,” Murray said. “It will help having one more match under my belt.”
Murray had been out of action since Wimbledon 2017 before having his operation at the start of this year.
After the Citi Open in Washington he also hopes to play Masters-level events in Toronto and Cincinnati in preparation for the US Open.
‘I enjoyed getting through that one’
He was broken in two of his first three service games on the way to losing the opening set in 40 minutes against 23-year-old McDonald, who is ranked 80th in the world.
In the second set, Murray, whose own world ranking has dropped to 832, broke in the ninth game to take a 5-4 lead and served out to take the match to a decider.
He was then 5-4 up and serving for the match in the third set but McDonald saved five match points then converted his second break point to draw level at 5-5.
But Murray immediately broke back – in a game that included a controversial call when McDonald’s racket was adjudged to have crossed the plane of the net with the score 30-30 – before serving out to win a 73-minute set and reach the second round.
“I enjoyed getting through that one. You could see it in the celebration,” Murray said. “That was a tough match. It could have gone either way. It was nice to win it.”
Serve clock a ‘positive change’
The match was Murray’s first on a hard court since March 2017 at Indian Wells and his first experience with a serve clock, which will be used at the US Open from 27 August.
“I hadn’t played in darkness or under the lights in a really long time and I felt my rhythm was off,” Murray said.
“I was struggling on my serve. I cut the unforced errors a little bit in the second set and started serving better.”
The serve clock, which was used at the 2018 Australian Open, allows players 25 seconds to start their service motion from the moment the umpire announces the score after the previous point.
He added: “Without a shot clock, that would have been a three-hour match. It’s a positive change for tennis.”
Sorry, Partner: Fritz Gains Revenge On Doubles Teammate In Los Cabos
American is in sixth place in the ATP Race To Milan
#NextGenATP American Taylor Fritz exacted revenge against Aussie Thanasi Kokkinakis on Monday to start the third edition of the Abierto Mexicano de Tenis Mifel presentado por Cinemex in Los Cabos.
Fritz lost to Kokkinakis in last year’s quarter-finals, and the Aussie went on to reach the final (l. to Sam Querrey). But this time, Fritz squeaked past the 22-year-old right-hander 7-6(6), 7-6(5) to advance and even their FedEx ATP Head2Head series (1-1).
“I played well. It was a lot like last year’s match. It could have really gone either way… just a couple points here and there. I’m really happy to get through,” Fritz said.
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He is looking to reach his second ATP World Tour final (Memphis 2016) and solidify his place among the top seven in the ATP Race To Milan. The 20-year-old is currently in sixth place.
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The top seven will automatically qualify for the Next Gen ATP Finals, to be held 6-10 November in Milan, while the eighth spot will be reserved for the winner of an all-Italian qualifier tournament to be held just prior to the prestigious 21-and-under event. Players must be born in 1997 or later to be eligible for the Next Gen ATP Finals.
Fritz and Kokkinakis will meet again this week. They’re playing doubles together. “It’s so funny because before the tournament started I knew I was going to play him. Before the draw even came out, I said to my coach, ‘I bet I’m going to play Thanasi’… It happens sometimes,” Fritz said.
In singles, Fritz will next face Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka, who broke four times and beat Portugal’s Gastao Elias 6-4, 6-3. Nishioka saved six of eight break points and advanced in 85 minutes.
#NextGenATP American Michael Mmoh picked up his fifth tour-level win of the year (5-3), beating compatriot Ernesto Escobedo 6-3, 4-6, 6-1. The 20-year-old Mmoh won 86 per cent of his first-serve points (38/44) and broke Escobedo twice in the final set. He will next meet Canadian Peter Polansky or Daniel Elahi Galan of Colombia.
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Did You Know? Fritz made the 2016 Memphis final in only his third tour-level event, falling to Japan’s Kei Nishikori.
Scot next faces fourth-seeded Edmund, who beat him in Eastbourne
It was not easy, but Andy Murray battled to his first hard-court win since 4 March 2017 on Monday evening at the Citi Open.
The former World No. 1 defeated American Mackenzie McDonald 3-6, 6-4, 7-5 after two hours, 37 minutes to clinch his second victory of the season (2-2) in just his third tournament back from hip surgery, which he underwent in January. The Scot advances to face British No. 1 Kyle Edmund in a rematch of their second-round encounter at the Nature Valley International in Eastbourne, won by Edmund.
“It was a tough, tough match,” Murray said. “It could have gone either way. Obviously if you lose a match like that, it’s a tough one. When I lost to [Teymuraz] Gabashvili here [three years ago], I lost serving for the match, so I was thinking about that a little bit, too. It is just nice to get through.”
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Murray held five match points while serving for the match for the first time at 5-4 in the third set, but McDonald was steady, breaking back. In the next game at 30/30, when it appeared the American had an easy putaway volley to earn a game point, he was called for reaching over the net, giving the Scot break point. After converting that, Murray did not waste his second opportunity to serve the match out, closing out the encounter on his seventh match point at 12:46 a.m. when his opponent missed an inside-out forehand long.
The 31-year-old’s reaction said it all, screaming “Yeah!” twice as he walked to the net.
“I wasn’t dictating many of the points. I wasn’t hitting the ball that cleanly. I just fought and tried to make it tough for him,” Murray said. “Made a few little adjustments here and there. But mentally, it was a big one to get through.”
After Wimbledon last season, Murray did not play a match for 11 months before returning at this year’s Fever-Tree Championships. This is Murray’s first hard-court event since last year’s BNP Paribas Open.
The 45-time tour-level champion showed signs of good form in his first match back at The Queen’s Club against Nick Kyrgios, pushing the in-form Aussie before Kyrgios triumphed 7-5 in the third set. He also beat former World No. 3 Stan Wawrinka in Eastbourne before losing against Edmund.
On Monday, Murray showed both a strong competitive spirit and room for improvement. McDonald was unafraid of taking control in rallies early on, using a good variety of aggression and finesse with drop shots to control play against the World No. 832. The American excelled when he punished the Scot’s second serve, taking advantage of Murray’s repetitive placement by running around his backhand to attack with his forehand and control points from there.
But as the match went on, Murray’s steadiness began to wear on McDonald, who began to make more unforced errors. And once he began to spray more shots, Murray added more balls with little to no pace to goad his opponent into playing aggressively.
“I think I cut the unforced errors down. I started to serve a little bit better. I started off the match serving very poorly. I was struggling on my serve and didn’t feel like I had much rhythm,” Murray said. “I haven’t played in the darkness or under the lights in a very long time and I felt like my rhythm was off on serve, my timing a little bit. That started to get a bit better as the match went on, so that helped… I made a few less mistakes, but I would like to play better tennis in the next match.”
Credit is due to McDonald, who has shown excellent form of late. The 23-year-old, who entered the season without a tour-level victory to his name, advanced to the fourth round at Wimbledon, using that effort to crack the Top 100 of the ATP Rankings for the first time. He also showed his talent in the second round of the Australian Open, where reigning Nitto ATP Finals champion Grigor Dimitrov defeated him 9-7 in a fifth set.
Only five other singles matches were completed on the opening day due to rain. Winners included American wild cards Tim Smyczek and Noah Rubin along with #NextGenATP Pole Hubert Hurkacz. Former World No. 3 Stan Wawrinka was set to face American Donald Young right after Murray’s match. But as soon as the players took the court, rain began to drizzle again, and the match was postponed until Tuesday.
Did You Know? Due to his injury, Murray slipped to No. 839 in the ATP Rankings earlier this month, which is lower than any ranking he had previously held in his career.
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