It was a mixed day for Nitto ATP Finals contenders at the Erste Bank Open in Vienna on Monday, as Andrey Rublev cruised through to the second round and Denis Shapovalov exited the tournament with a straight-sets loss.
In the opening match of the evening session, Rublev added a 35th win to his 2020 total with a 6-3, 6-2 victory against Norbert Gombos. The Russian, who owns a 35-7 record in 2020, struck 11 aces and converted three of four break points to advance to the second round in one hour. #NextGenATP Austrian Jurij Rodionov eliminated eighth seed Shapovalov 6-4, 7-5 in the final match of the day.
Rublev is chasing his third ATP 500 crown and fifth overall title of the year. The World No. 8 has already picked up trophies at the 500-level in Hamburg and St. Petersburg this season.
”I was really lucky to start [well] from the beginning, it gave me more confidence,” said Rublev in an on-court interview. “Each game, I was playing better and better. At the end of the match, I finished with a good level.”
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) October 26, 2020
Rublev is in pole position to claim one of two remaining qualification spots at the Nitto ATP Finals in London. The fifth seed will need to reach the semi-finals in Vienna to add to his FedEx ATP Battle For London total this week. Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Dominic Thiem, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Daniil Medvedev and Alexander Zverev have already qualified for the elite eight-man event, which will be held at The O2 from 15-22 November.
”I have no expectations at all [in Vienna]. Just to give my best in every match and we will see what happens,” said Rublev. “I did already a really great season, so [there is] nothing to lose.”[WATCH LIVE 1]
Shapovalov’s hopes of joining Rublev in the second round and boosting his chances of qualifying for London were ended by Rodionov, who converted three of four break points and won 12 of 17 net points to mark a memorable debut appearance in Vienna.
Rodionov has captured two ATP Challenger Tour trophies this year (Dallas, Morelos) and recently claimed his first tour-level win at Roland Garros. The 6’3” left-hander dropped just two points behind his second serve in the second set (10/12) to stay ahead in the score and the pressure told when Shapovalov served to stay in the match at 5-6. The Canadian, currently in 12th position in the FedEx ATP Battle For London, committed four errors — including two doubles faults — to exit the tournament.
Kevin Anderson saved three consecutive match points to claim his 10th tournament victory in Vienna (10-4). The 2018 champion trailed 3/6 in the final-set tie-break, but reeled off five straight points to overcome Dennis Novak in two hours and 44 minutes.
Anderson will meet World No. 15 Pablo Carreno Busta in the second round. The US Open semi-finalist was leading Gael Monfils 6-1, 2-0, when the Frenchman was forced to retire due to a neck injury.
Borna Coric extended his unbeaten ATP Head2Head record against Taylor Fritz to 4-0 on Monday. The 23-year-old saved all three break points he faced to earn a 6-4, 6-4 win and improved to 15-10 this year. Coric will face World No. 1 Novak Djokovic or Filip Krajinovic in the second round.
On Tuesday, three former Grand Slam champions are in action. Top seed Novak Djokovic plays fellow Serbian Filip Krajinovic second match on centre court, followed by second seed and reigning US Open champion Dominic Thiem, who tackles 23-year-old Ukrainian Vitaliy Sachko. Three-time major winner Stan Wawrinka meets Chilean Cristian Garin in the final match of the day.