Nick Kyrgios got back to winning ways on Tuesday, defeating home favourite Andrey Rublev 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 at the VTB Kremlin Cup in Moscow.
The fifth-seeded wild card, who suffered early exits in Tokyo and Shanghai, fired 25 aces and regularly impressed the Russian crowd with his shotmaking abilities en route to an 87-minute victory. The 23-year-old improves to 25-13 this season after denying Rublev a first victory in four appearances at the ATP World Tour 250 tournament.
Kyrgios will face Mirza Basic for a place in the quarter-finals. Earlier in the day, Basic overcame Malek Jaziri of Tunisia 7-6(4), 6-2. World No. 37 Kyrgios and Basic have never met at tour level.
Belarusian qualifier Egor Gerasimov struck 12 aces and lost just nine of his first-service points (36/45) in a 6-1, 6-7(5), 6-2 victory over defending champion Damir Dzumhur, the sixth seed from Bosnia and Herzegovina. He will next challenge Frenchman Benoit Paire, who overcame Mischa Zverev of Germany 7-6(6), 2-6, 6-1.
Andreas Seppi notched his third victory over Martin Klizan in four FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings, upsetting the eighth seed 6-1, 7-6(6). The Italian will meet Pierre-Hugues Herbert or Kazakh qualifier Alexander Bublik in the second round.
Russian Evgeny Donskoy saved four set points at 5/6, 6/7, 8/9 and 9/10 in the second set tie-break en route to beating 2013 runner-up Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan 6-4, 7-6(10) in one hour and 52 minutes. Donskoy, the 2015 Moscow semi-finalist, will next play fourth-seeded Serbian Filip Krajinovic.
Ahead of the European Open in Antwerp, Kyle Edmund, Gael Monfils, Milos Raonic and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga took time out of their busy schedules to enjoy some urban tennis at Groenplaats Square.
Arriving by public bus, the four ATP World Tour stars posed for pictures and contested rallies in front of the public as excitement built in the city for the third edition of the tournament. Defending champion Tsonga and first-time visitor Monfils will be keen to make it three out of three for French players in Antwerp, with countryman Richard Gasquet lifting the trophy in 2016.
Tsonga is competing in just his second event since recovering from a knee injury, which forced the 33-year-old to miss seven months of the 2018 season. Monfils, who will meet Belgian wild card Ruben Bemelmans in the first round, was impressed by the local sights. “It was great to be able to hit a few balls on one of the most beautiful squares of Antwerp,” said Monfils.
Top seed Edmund will be looking to build on a strong Asian Swing as he chases his first tour-level trophy. The World No. 15 won six of eight matches in China, with semi-final and quarter-final runs in Beijing and Shanghai respectively. Former World No. 3 Raonic, like fellow debutant Monfils, was equally impressed by the city after his visit to the famous square. “It was an agreeable and sporty way to see the city,” said Raonic.