Tsitsipas Battles In Den Bosch; Seppi Falls
Tomic, Ebden pass first tests
#NextGenATP Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas recorded his first tour-level grass-court match win on Tuesday at the Libema Open. The fifth seed defeated lucky loser John-Patrick Smith of Australia 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 in one hour and 35 minutes for a place in the second round. Smith replaced Dutch wild card Tallon Griekspoor, who withdrew due to a left leg injury.
“It feels great to be back on grass, I’ve been waiting for this season for a very long time,” said Tsitsipas. “I have had some good memories in the past, winning [Junior] Wimbledon doubles and I am grateful that I had the opportunity to perform today in [front of] such a big crowd on Centre Court and play my best in the second and third sets.”
Currently at a career-high No. 37 in the ATP Rankings, 19-year-old Tsitsipas reached his first ATP World Tour final in April at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell (l. to Nadal). He will now play Tunisia’s Malek Jaziri, who overcame Australian qualifier Max Purcell 6-2, 6-3 in 58 minutes.
American wild card Mackenzie McDonald, the winner of the 2016 NCAA Division I singles and doubles titles, caused a big upset in beating eighth seed Andreas Seppi of Italy 6-4, 6-2 over 77 minutes. Seppi won one of his three ATP World Tour trophies on grass courts in June 2011 at the Nature Valley International (d. Tipsarevic). McDonald will now prepare to face Australian qualifier Alex Bolt, a 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-2 victor over Vasek Pospisil of Canada.
Two Australians, qualifier Bernard Tomic and Matthew Ebden, also booked their spots in the second round.
Tomic, the 2011 Wimbledon quarter-finalist, moved past American lucky loser Kevin King 6-4, 6-2 in 73 minutes for his first ATP World Tour match win since October 2017 at the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships (d. Sousa, l. to Schwartzman). Tomic was previously meant to face Marcos Baghdatis, who withdrew due to a left hamstring injury. He will now play sixth-seeded Dutchman Robin Haase.
Ebden knocked out another American lucky loser Tim Smyczek 6-2, 6-3 in one hour, for a second-round clash against third seed Gilles Muller of Luxembourg. Smyczek took the spot of Pierre-Hugues Herbert, who pulled out due to a stomach issue.
Melo Records 450th Doubles Match Win
Marcelo Melo recorded the 450th victory of his career (450-272) in partnership with Lukasz Kubot as the top seeds beat Yuichi Sugita and Donald Young 6-4, 6-2 in 58 minutes. Kubot and Melo are 9-4 in tour-level doubles finals.
Two other seeded teams also advanced to the quarter-finals. Third seeds Dominic Inglot and Franko Skugor knocked out Dutchmen Haase and Wesley Koolhof 6-4, 7-6(4) in 78 minutes, while fourth seed Divij Sharan and Artem Sitak overcame Spaniards David Marrero and Fernando Verdasco 6-3, 6-3 in 57 minutes.