ATP Tour wrap: Schwartzman and Sinner celebrate birthday wins as W&S Open gets underway

THE Western and Southern Open has started with a bang, as the Round of 64 got underway. Four of the day’s five seeds prevailed as  mixed bag of results shaped up in a rain-filled day in Cincinnati.

It was a big day in more ways than one for freshly 20-year-old Jannik Sinner, as the Italian left his teen years and first round opposition, Argentinian Federico Delbonis behind him with a 6-2 7-5 victory on the board. The 11th seed rallied well to come from behind 2-4 in the second set to eventually claim the straight sets victory in just over 90 minutes, and comes in with form on his side following a tournament win at the Citi Open last week. Sinner fired six aces and won 64 per cent of his service points to clinch the victory.

“For me the biggest present was playing in front of the crowd… and getting the win makes it perfect,” Sinner said. “Winning is the cherry on top.

“Delbonis played well. “He is a very tricky player, a lefty with a good serve. “There are a couple of areas that I have to work on, but It was an important win for me.”

Compatriot, Fabio Fognini also earned a first round win, outlasting Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili 7-6(3) 6-3, while another Argentinian in 10th seed Diego Schwartzman also celebrated his birthday with a win, ousting Brit Daniel Evans in a tight 6-2 4-6 6-3 result. Schwartzman impressed on serve winning 81 per cent of his first serve points off a 65 per cent clip, hitting five aces to Evans’ four.

“I’m very happy because I got the win in a very difficult match. Last week I had a very difficult week at the end because I was playing my best again and I lost a match against a great opponent and great guy in Roberto Bautista Agut,” Schwartzman said. “I was thinking all match today about that and it was my birthday and I wanted the win. In the third set it was very difficult at the beginning. I was a break down and I came back and I’m very happy.”

Elsewhere, fellow countryman Guido Pella joined Schwartzman on the winners list with a 6-3 6-3 blitz of 15th seed David Goffin, outclassing the Belgian in one hour and 17 minutes, while 12th seed Felix Auger-Aliassime fended off Hungarian Marton Fucsovics 7-6(0) 6-3 after a slow start and rain delay, hitting 23 winners throughout to clinch the victory. The day’s remaining seed in Alex de Minaur had an ugly start to his own match before recovering well to take out a 0-6 6-4 6-4 victory over Serbian Filip Krajinovic, shaking off the bagel set to finish with eight aces and a 70 per cent win rate off a 63 per cent clip. Krajinovic was joined on the sidelines by compatriot Miomir Kecmanovic, who fell to Frenchman Benoit Paire in three sets, and like  Krajinovic, claimed the first before being overrun.

Paire’s compatriot in qualifier Richard Gasquet was not so lucky, as the veteran fell to former world number one Andy Murray, with the wildcard Brit firing off 14 aces to claim a 6-4 6-4 victory in one hour and 50 minutes. Results were similarly split for thee South Africans, as Lloyd Harris hit 11 aces to oust qualifier Yoshihito Nishioka 6-3 6-4 in 83 minutes, while another veteran and qualifier Kevin Anderson was unable to claim a win off the back of his strong service game, falling to Russian Karen Khachanov 6-2 6-4. A trio of Americans took the court, with only Mackenzie McDonald prevailing as he took down fellow wildcard Brandon Nakashima 7-5 6-2, and Taylor Fritz fell to Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas in three. An all-German battle between lucky loser Dominik Koepfer and Jan-Lennard Struff went the way of the former as Koepfer stormed away in the third to claim a 7-6(2) 5-7 6-3 victory in two and a half hours,


[10] Diego Schwartzman (ARG) defeated Daniel Evans (GBR) 6-2 4-6 6-3
[11] Jannik Sinner (ITA) defeated Federico Delbonis (ARG) 6-2 7-5
[12] Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN) defeated Marton Fucsovics (HUN) 7-6 6-3
[14] Alex de Minaur (AUS) defeated Filip Krajinovic (SRB) 0-6 6-4 6-4
Guido Pella (ARG) defeated [15] David Goffin (BEL) 6-3 6-3
Albert Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) defeated Taylor Fritz (USA) 4-6 6-4 6-4
Fabio Fognini (ITA) defeated Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO) 7-6 6-3
[LL] Dominik Koepfer (GER) defeated Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) 7-6 5-7 6-3
Benoit Paire (FRA) defeated Miomir Kecmanovic (SRB) 5-7 6-3 6-2
Lloyd Harris (RSA) defeated [Q] Yoshihito Nishioka (JPN) 6-3 6-4
[WC] Andy Murray (GBR) defeated [Q] Richard Gasquet (FRA) 6-4 6-4
Karen Khachanov (RUS) defeated [Q] Kevin Anderson (RSA) 6-2 6-4
[WC] Mackenzie McDonald (USA) defeated [WC] Brandon Nakashima (USA) 7-5 6-2


Picture credit: AFP

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