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Zverev On Felix & Shapovalov: 'They Will Be On Top'

  • Posted: Apr 15, 2019

Zverev On Felix & Shapovalov: ‘They Will Be On Top’

World No. 3 could play Felix in the second round

Alexander Zverev has already won many important titles in his young career, including the 2018 Nitto ATP Finals and three ATP Masters 1000 tournaments. The German has been so successful, that it’s easy to forget he is still only 21.

Zverev would not be eligible to compete at the Next Gen ATP Finals anymore if he chose to, but the German expects some of the top #NextGenATP players to join him near the top of the ATP Rankings sooner rather than later.

“It’s funny because I’m 21 years old and I’ve been on Tour for basically five years now. I don’t like to say I’m better or everything like this. I mean obviously my [ATP] Ranking says it and I’ve won bigger titles, but everybody has their own way,” Zverev said. “I’ve played more tournaments than them. I’ve been on Tour longer, but in a few years’ time, nobody will remember that I was there quicker. I think those guys are great and I wish them nothing but the best. I think the new generation of tennis will be in good hands.”

The World No. 3 has been particularly impressed by Felix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov, a pair of #NextGenATP Canadians. Both Auger-Aliassime, 18, and Shapovalov, who turned 20 on Monday, reached the semi-finals in Miami.

“Felix is obviously a little bit younger than us and he’s doing amazing. Canada has probably two Grand Slam champions growing up right now,” Zverev said. “Denis, even though he may be struggling a little bit more than everybody expected, trust me, he will be on top of the game soon and Felix as well. I think Canada, if everything goes well and no injuries occur or something like this, they will be on top of the game.”

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Zverev could potentially face Felix in his opening match in Monte-Carlo. The 18-year-old needs to beat Cordoba champion Juan Ignacio Londero to set the blockbuster.

“He’s been one of the best young guys on Tour this year. He made the semis in Miami, made the final in Rio,” Zverev said. “I’m very happy for him because he’s one of the most humble and nicest guys that I know. He always walks around, even when he was younger, he’s still young but when he was just starting and the first few times that everybody saw him on the Tour he was always very polite and always very positive.

“For me, I’m not going to say I’m a fan of him, but I always kind of look after him because, first of all, he’s a great player, but also because he’s an unbelievably nice kid.”

For his part, Zverev is ready to turn over a new leaf on his 2019 season. After a strong start to the year, including a runner-up showing in Acapulco, the German got sick at Indian Wells, limiting his performance there and in Miami. Zverev has won multiple clay-court titles in each of the past two seasons.

“I enjoy playing on it. I’m one of those guys that looks forward to playing on it, not even because I win, but I enjoy the long rallies, I enjoy the running around, sliding around the court and stuff like this,” Zverev said. “Clay with indoor hard courts is probably my favourite surface right now.”

Zverev has won three of his trophies on indoor hard courts. So how does he translate his game to the slower clay surface?

“I try to be very aggressive always. But I’m also very tall, so I need space. I need space, I need time to have my big swings and be able to hit the ball and that’s what clay gives me,” Zverev said. “When I play heavy, it doesn’t matter what surface I play on. It’s more about where I have the timing, where I feel the most comfortable and so far it’s always been clay.”

The 2017 Rome and 2018 Madrid champion will hope that comfort pays off in Monte-Carlo, where he will try to complete his trio of clay-court Masters 1000 titles.

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Djokovic Brothers Fall To Cabal/Farah In Monte-Carlo

  • Posted: Apr 15, 2019

Djokovic Brothers Fall To Cabal/Farah In Monte-Carlo

Top seeds Herbert/Mahut upset

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic can win the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters, but it won’t be in doubles. Fourth seeds Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah, who qualified for the 2018 Nitto ATP Finals, defeated Djokovic and his brother, Marko Djokovic, 6-1, 6-3 to reach the second round in Monte-Carlo.

The top seed in the singles draw has shown his ability in doubles this year, advancing to the semi-finals of the BNP Paribas Open last month alongside Fabio Fognini. And while the Djokovic brothers reached the last four in Doha to start the season, they could not beat the Colombians on Monday, falling after 55 minutes.

That was not an upset given the ATP Doubles Team Ranking of the Colombian team, but reigning Australian Open champions Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut losing was. Dutchmen Robin Haase and Wesley Koolhof beat the top seeds 7-6(4), 7-6(2) in one hour and 38 minutes. Herbert and Mahut saved six of the seven break points they faced, but it was not enough to defeat the unseeded pair, which won 73 per cent of its first-serve points.

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The Dutchmen will next play Acapulco champions Alexander Zverev and Mischa Zverev, who ousted Romain Arneodo and Hugo Nys, wild cards from Monaco, 4-6, 6-4, 10-7. The Zverev brothers lost only one service point in the Match Tie-break, moving on after one hour and 13 minutes.

In a star-packed match, two-time Nitto ATP Finals champions Henri Kontinen and John Peers dismissed Grigor Dimitrov and Stan Wawrinka 7-6(6), 6-3. The sixth seeds were clutch under pressure, saving eight of the 10 break points they faced.

In the only remaining doubles match of the day, Croatian Ivan Dodig and Frenchman Edouard Roger-Vasselin beat Serbian Laslo Djere and Indian Divij Sharan 6-2, 6-1 in 58 minutes. Dodig and Roger-Vasselin triumphed in Montpellier earlier this year.

Did You Know?
Beginning this season, all ATP Masters 1000 doubles tournaments have 32 teams in the draw as compared to 24 in the past.

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Thiem Leaving His Mark On Clay

  • Posted: Apr 15, 2019

Thiem Leaving His Mark On Clay

Austrian owns eight ATP Tour titles on clay

Dominic Thiem, the fourth seed at this week’s Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters, captured his first ATP Masters 1000 title at the BNP Paribas Open, becoming just the second Austrian to triumph at that level (also Thomas Muster). The only surprise was that his first Masters 1000 triumph did not come on clay.

Thiem is on pace to become one of the most successful clay-court players of this generation, if not in the Open Era. While Rafael Nadal has overshadowed the 25-year-old with his dominance on the surface throughout his career, winning 23 of his record 33 Masters 1000 trophies on clay, Thiem has quickly moved up the clay-court record books.

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Among active players, Thiem has the fourth-highest winning percentage on clay according to the FedEx ATP Performance Zone, winning more than 74 per cent of his matches on the surface.

The only three players who have won on clay at a greater pace are the ‘Big Three’ of Nadal (92%), World No. 1 Novak Djokovic (79%) and Roger Federer (76%). Thiem is the only player to defeat Nadal on the red dirt over the past two seasons. The Spaniard holds a 50-2 record on clay since 2017.

Active Clay-Court Winning Percentage Leaders

 Player (Open Era Rank)  Clay-Court Titles  Clay Record Clay Winning Percentage
 Rafael Nadal (1)  57  415-36  92.0%
 Novak Djokovic (6)  13  199-52  79.3%
 Roger Federer (15)  11  214-68  75.9%
 Dominic Thiem (16)  8  115-40  74.2%
 Kei Nishikori (27)  2  84-34  71.2%

“It’s always my most important part of the season with my biggest highlight of the year, Roland Garros, coming up,” Thiem said of the European clay swing, beginning with Monte-Carlo. “There are so many points to play for and only great tournaments.”

Furthermore, only five active players own more clay-court titles than eight-time ATP Tour clay-court champion Thiem — Nadal (57), Djokovic (13), David Ferrer (13), Federer (11) and Tommy Robredo (11) — and they are all at least six years older than him. The Austrian is just three titles away from Federer, who won his first ATP Tour trophy on clay when Thiem was only eight years old.

Active Clay-Court Title Leaders

 Player  Clay-Court Titles
 Rafael Nadal  57
 Novak Djokovic  13
 Nicolas Almagro*  13
 David Ferrer  13
 Roger Federer  11
 Tommy Robredo  11
 Dominic Thiem   8

Thiem’s performance in Indian Wells serves as a clear example of his hard-court prowess. Yet entering Monte-Carlo, the World No. 5 has won 18 per cent more of his clay-court matches than he has on hard courts. Last year’s Roland Garros finalist currently sits 16th in the Open Era in clay-court winning percentage, ahead of former World No. 1s Juan Carlos Ferrero, Andre Agassi and John McEnroe.

The three-time Nitto ATP Finals qualifier has made the final at the Mutua Madrid Open — one of three clay-court Masters 1000 tournaments — in each of the past two years. He will try to advance that far in Monte-Carlo for the first time. The fourth seed will play Slovak Martin Klizan or Argentine qualifier Federico Delbonis in the first round.

*Spaniard Nicolas Almagro played his final match last week.

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Monte Carlo Masters: Kyle Edmund beaten by Diego Schwartzman in first round

  • Posted: Apr 15, 2019

British number one Kyle Edmund let an early lead slip as he was beaten in the first round of the Monte Carlo Masters by Diego Schwartzman.

World number 23 Edmund led Argentina’s Schwartzman by a set and 3-0 but ultimately lost 4-6 6-3 6-1.

The 24-year-old won only one of the final 13 games against Schwartzman, who is one place below him in the world rankings.

Schwartzman will face either Jo-Wilfried Tsonga or Taylor Fritz next.

There were five breaks of serve in a scrappy opening set before Edmund converted his first set point.

The Briton broke Schwartzman at the first opportunity in the second set but Schwartzman won nine straight games to level the match and take an early third-set lead.

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Edmund held serve for 1-3 and had a break point in the next game, but a missed backhand volley allowed Schwartzman to extend his lead.

Schwartzman, who reached the French Open quarter-finals in 2018, went on to serve out victory.

The two will face one another again in the men’s doubles on Tuesday. Edmund and compatriot Neil Skupski are scheduled to play Schwartzman and Joao Sousa of Portugal from 14:00 BST.

British number two Cameron Norrie opens his singles campaign against Adrian Mannarino of France on the same day.

Rafael Nadal also begins his title defence on Tuesday against fellow Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut. The match will be Nadal’s first in over a month after he injured his knee at Indian Wells in March.

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Djokovic, Wawrinka In Action Tuesday; View Schedule

  • Posted: Apr 15, 2019

Djokovic, Wawrinka In Action Tuesday; View Schedule

Djokovic looks to bounce back at third ATP Masters 1000 of 2019

Main draw action continues to heat up on Day 3 of the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters. Ten main draw singles matches will take place on Tuesday, with former champions Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka headlining play at the Monte-Carlo Country Club.

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic opens his bid for a third Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters title and will look for payback against Philipp Kohslchreiber. The German won their third-round clash last month at the BNP Paribas Open, but Djokovic leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry 8-2. Kohlschreiber’s only other victory against the Serbian came 10 years ago at Roland Garros. Read: Kohlschreiber Upsets Djokovic

— ATP Tour (@ATP_Tour) April 15, 2019

Stan Wawrinka, the 2014 champion, confronts eleventh seed Marco Cecchinato. The Italian has proven himself to be a clay-court expert and has won all three of his ATP Tour titles on this surface in the past 12 months (Budapest 2018, Umag 2018 and Buenos Aires 2019). Wawrinka has quickly rounded into form in Monte-Carlo, winning 10 of the last 13 games in his first-round triumph over Lucas Pouille, meaning this match has all the makings of an epic battle. The winner will go on to face either No. 7 seed Marin Cilic or Argentine Guido Pella for a place in the quarter-finals.

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#NextGenATP star Felix Auger-Aliassime, who enters at a career-high No. 33 in the ATP Rankings following a semi-final run in Miami, features in first-round action against Argentine qualifier Juan Ignacio Londero. The winner will play third seed Alexander Zverev of Germany on Wednesday. 

Other notable names in action on Tuesday include eighth seed Karen Khachanov of Russia against Italian qualifier Lorenzo Sonego, ninth seed Borna Coric of Croatia taking on Jaume Munar of Spain, and two-time Monte-Carlo semi-finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France kicking off play on Court Rainier III against Taylor Fritz of the United States.

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COURT RAINIER III start 11:00 am
[PR] Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) vs Taylor Fritz (USA)
[7] Marin Cilic (CRO) vs Guido Pella (ARG)
[1] Novak Djokovic (SRB) vs Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER)
Stan Wawrinka (SUI) vs [11] Marco Cecchinato (ITA)

COURT DES PRINCES start 11:00 am
Fernando Verdasco (ESP) vs Pierre-Hugues Herbert (FRA)
Gilles Simon (FRA) vs [Q] Alexei Popyrin (AUS)
[Q] Lorenzo Sonego (ITA) vs [8] Karen Khachanov (RUS)
[WC] Jaume Munar (ESP) vs [9] Borna Coric (CRO)

COURT 2 start 11:00 am
[WC] Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN) vs [Q] Juan Ignacio Londero (ARG)
David Goffin (BEL) / Lucas Pouille (FRA) vs Marcelo Demoliner (BRA) / Daniil Medvedev (RUS)
After Suitable Rest – Marton Fucsovics (HUN) / Guido Pella (ARG) vs Matteo Berrettini (ITA) / Fabio Fognini (ITA)

COURT 9 start 11:00 am
Adrian Mannarino (FRA) vs Cameron Norrie (GBR)
[7] Nikola Mektic (CRO) / Franko Skugor (CRO) vs Matwe Middelkoop (NED) / Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE)
After Suitable Rest – [WC] Jurgen Melzer (AUT) / Dominic Thiem (AUT) vs Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN) / Denis Shapovalov (CAN)

COURT 11 start 1:00 pm
Radu Albot (MDA) / Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO) vs [8] Raven Klaasen (RSA) / Joe Salisbury (GBR)
Not Before 3:00 pm
Kyle Edmund (GBR) / Neal Skupski (GBR) vs Diego Schwartzman (ARG) / Joao Sousa (POR)

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ATP Challenger event returns to Glasgow

  • Posted: Apr 15, 2019

Glasgow will again host an ATP Challenger event this year, the Lawn Tennis Association has announced.

Singles and doubles events will take place at Scotstoun Sports Campus from 16-22 September.

Last year’s inaugural event was attended by more than 3,000 spectators with Slovakia’s Lukas Lacko winning the singles.

“Some of the best memories have been playing Davis Cup ties at home,” said Scottish doubles player Jamie Murray.

“I am delighted to be working with the LTA and Glasgow Life on the planning and delivery of an ATP Challenger in Scotland later this year.”

Murray, who has played a role in the planning of the event, added: “We hope to make this year’s tournament more successful, providing a platform to inspire more young people in Scotland to take up our sport.

“I look forward to seeing everyone again in September.”

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Goffin Makes It 10 in Monte-Carlo

  • Posted: Apr 15, 2019

Goffin Makes It 10 in Monte-Carlo

Kohlschreiber sets rematch against Djokovic

David Goffin notched his 10th victory at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters (10-6) after 85 minutes on Monday, beating Argentine Guido Andreozzi 6-1, 6-4.

The 2017 semi-finalist played clinically under pressure, saving five of six break points en route to the second round. Two years ago, Goffin battled past Dominic Thiem and Novak Djokovic to reach the last four, where he was beaten by eventual champion Rafael Nadal.

After a run to the Round of 16 at the Miami Open presented by Itau last month (l. to Tiafoe), the 28-year-old Belgian is pushing for another deep run at an ATP Masters 1000 event, this tournament kicking off the European clay swing. Goffin will meet Serbian Dusan Lajovic in his next match, following the World No. 48’s 6-4, 6-4 win against Tunisian Malek Jaziri.

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German Philipp Kohlschreiber will meet top seed Novak Djokovic after defeating Japanese Taro Daniel 6-1, 6-3. Last month at the BNP Paribas Open, Kohlschreiber stunned Djokovic 6-4, 6-4 to snap the World No. 1’s eight-match winning streak following the Serbian’s seventh Australian Open triumph.

Kazakh Mikhail Kukushkin also advanced to a high-profile second-round encounter. Kukushkin, who defeated Frenchman Jeremy Chardy 6-3, 6-4, will meet sixth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas.

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Nadal On Tiger: 'He's Probably My Favourite Sportsman'

  • Posted: Apr 15, 2019

Nadal On Tiger: ‘He’s Probably My Favourite Sportsman’

World No. 2 reflects on form entering the European clay swing

Golfer Tiger Woods captured his first major championship in 11 years on Sunday, triumphing at The Masters for his 15th title at that level. You can count at least one fan who was cheering him on from Monte-Carlo: Rafael Nadal.

“He’s probably my favourite sportsman in the world since a long time ago. I’m a big fan of his. It has been tough years for him and I can’t be more happy about the victory of yesterday. You imagine all the processes and all the hard work that he had to do to be back on a golf course. It’s so difficult all the things that he did,” said Nadal, who will chase a record 12th Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters trophy this week. “Finally winning a Grand Slam again, especially in Augusta, probably his favourite one, it means everything for him. So I’m just very, very happy.”

Woods has been made to overcome plenty of adversity over the years. From 2014-17, he underwent four back surgeries to alleviate pain that threatened his career. But like Nadal has throughout his own career, Woods bounced back to emerge victorious on a grand stage once more. 

“What happened during the last year for Tiger is an inspiration for everyone, not just for me. He’s a good example of passion for sport, discipline in terms of hard work and love for the game. That’s what he for sure feels to be back where he is,” Nadal said. “The celebration yesterday when he was walking with his family is one of the moments I will not forget.”

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Nadal is still creating memorable moments of his own, tallying an 11-2 record with his losses coming against World No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open final and a red-hot Nick Kyrgios in an Acapulco thriller. The World No. 2 did not lose a set en route to the semi-finals of the BNP Paribas Open. But he was forced to withdraw before playing Roger Federer due to knee pain.

“In terms of tennis, I can’t complain much. Every time that I played I have been in a position to win tournaments,” said Nadal, who added that he has not been frustrated. “Life has been too good for me to be frustrated. But yes, at some point, even if I appreciate all the things that this sport has given me and this life has given to me, sometimes it’s tough to accept when you have problems in a row and this year since the beginning of the season has been tough.

“But I think almost every time I’ve had a chance to be back I’ve been able to be very competitive and I hope to keep my level.”

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Nadal is returning at a good time, having won the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters a record 11 times. If the 32-year-old lifts the trophy again on Sunday, he will be the first player to win an ATP Tour event on 12 occasions. That would also extend his record of ATP Masters 1000 titles to 34, with clay-court Masters 1000 events in Madrid and Rome still to come.

“It’s the start of the important clay season for me,” Nadal said. “I hope to be healthy and I hope to be ready to compete well. This tournament is important for me, and I hope to be competitive from the beginning.”

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Nadal knows that the field is as tough as ever ahead of this clay season. Djokovic is the top seed in Monte-Carlo, clay-court stalwart Thiem is confident after triumphing in Indian Wells, and while Federer is not competing in Monte-Carlo, he is scheduled to compete at Madrid and Roland Garros.

“We can’t predict the future. I hope to be one of them, but you never know. There is a young generation coming, and they are good. They play well on clay too,” said Nadal, specifically noting #NextGenATP stars Felix Auger-Aliassime, Denis Shapovalov and Stefanos Tsitsipas. “Dominic is one of the candidates for everything, especially after winning in Indian Wells. Novak always, of course. Let’s see. Roger is always a candidate, let’s see how he’s able to adapt his game again to the clay after a while without playing on clay. I don’t think it will be a big trouble for him because he has the talent.”

Nadal is not looking far ahead, dreaming of winning a certain title or defeating a specific player. For him, it’s one step at a time.

“I don’t dream much. I just try to go day by day,” Nadal said. “My dream is just to keep playing tennis and enjoying the competition. I don’t think about winning Novak in the US Open or winning Roger in the final of Wimbledon again. My dream now is to try to be competitive from Wednesday and try to play a good Monte-Carlo.”

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Medvedev, Chardy Celebrate Tecnifibre 40th Anniversary With Bob Sinclar

  • Posted: Apr 15, 2019

Medvedev, Chardy Celebrate Tecnifibre 40th Anniversary With Bob Sinclar

Fun party marks Tecnifibre’s milestone

Tecnifibre recently celebrated its 40th anniversary with a glamorous party in Paris and some of the most popular ATP stars were on hand for the festivities.

Daniil Medvedev and Jeremy Chardy joined French DJ Bob Sinclar to help celebrate Tecnifibre’s milestone moment. Sinclar is an avid tennis fan and was happy to rub shoulders with some of the greatest players in the game.

“Tennis is my job and music is my hobby,” said Sinclar. “I live tennis [and] always watch highlights. I love Roger Federer, Jeremy and all of the Frenchies. When you’re on YouTube, they keep suggesting more and more matches, so I watch all of it!”

But while Sinclar was modest about his tennis abilities, Chardy and Medvedev also played down their musical prowess.

“I love music and thought I’ll learn guitar to attract girls, [but] I’m really bad at it! I don’t hear sounds,” joked Chardy. Medvedev admitted to being vocally challenged and said that “if I decide to sing a song, all the people around will beg me to stop.”

Chardy and Medvedev are both competing this week at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters.

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Medvedev Matches Federer Win Total

  • Posted: Apr 15, 2019

Medvedev Matches Federer Win Total

Cecchinato battles past Basilashvili

Daniil Medvedev stormed past Joao Sousa 6-1, 6-1 at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters on Monday, tying Roger Federer for the most tour-level wins this season.

“It was a good match. Of course, it is not easy to start the first match on clay,” said Medvedev. “You want to see how your practices have been going [and if] they worked out. In this moment I am happy with my performance but looking forward to the next matches because it is only the start.”

With an 18-6 record this year, the 10th seed joined Federer (18-2) atop the match-wins leaderboard after winning 83 per cent of first-serve points (15/18) against Sousa to advance after 54 minutes. Playing at a career-high No. 14 in the ATP Rankings this week, the 23-year-old Medvedev improves to 2-1 in his FedEx ATP Head2Head series with the Portuguese. Medvedev will meet Aljaz Bedene or Radu Albot for a spot in the third round.

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“Radu has done a great first quarter of the year, so [it is] never going to be an easy match,” said Medvedev. “But if I manage to hold my nerves like I did today and play strong and aggressive, I will have my chances.”

Last year’s Roland Garros semi-finalist Marco Cecchinato also advanced to the second round after Damir Dzumhur was forced to retire during the first set of their match. The Italian, who was leading Dzumhur 4-0, will need to bring his best level if he is to make further progress in the Principality. Cecchinato will next meet 2014 champion Stan Wawrinka in the second round.

Hungarian Marton Fucsovics scored his second victory in as many FedEx ATP Head2Head matches against Nikoloz Basilashvili. The Sofia Open finalist earned 20 break points en route to a 7-5, 3-6, 6-1 victory and he will meet Adrian Mannarino or Cameron Norrie in the second round.

With strong serving, Lorenzo Sonego overcame countryman Andreas Seppi 7-6(4), 6-4. The Turin native fired nine aces and dropped just four points behind his first serve (39/43) to confirm a second-round meeting with Karen Khachanov. Martin Klizan will face BNP Paribas Open champion Dominic Thiem in the second round after a 7-6(3), 7-5 win over Federico Delbonis of Argentina.

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