VIENNA, October 26, 2016
The first round of the Erste Bank Open 500 concluded on Wednesday led by world number two Andy Murray, who won the title in Vienna two years ago in his last appearance. The 29-year-old Scot had to go the hard way against Martin Klizan from Slovakia, winning 6-3, 6-7, 6-0. Murray saved seven of the nine break points he faced, capitalizing on six of his own to secure victory in two hours and 22 minutes.
Murray has come to Austria on a 10-match winning streak after winning back-to back titles in Beijing and at the ATP Masters 1000 in Shanghai. He is trying to surpass Novak Djokovic and become world number one in the Emirates ATP Rankings for the first time. Murray trails Djokovic by 915 points in the ATP Race to London and can close to within 415 points by winning a second title in Vienna.
“This would be my best chance to finish No. 1,” said Murray in Vienna. “But I’m still far from doing that, as Novak has a pretty big points lead. He normally plays extremely well on indoor hard courts and has played great in London, whereas I haven’t played so well there – in fact I’ve struggled a little bit. I will need to make some improvements, if I want to get close to doing that.”
His next step towards the top will be in his second round match at the Stadthalle on Friday when he will play Frenchman Gilles Simon. The pair will meet for the 18th time with Murray leading 15-2 in head-to-head records.
Earlier the day, Philipp Kohlschreiber battled past French veteran Stephane Robert, rallying 6-4, 6-3, 7-6. The 33-year-old German saved nine of the 11 break points he faced, converting two of his own to prevail in two hours and 15 minutes. Kohlschreiber will next play the tournament’s number six Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France.
Albert Ramos-Vinolas cruised past Moscow runner-up Fabio Fognini, winning 6-2, 6-2. The 28-year-old Spaniard closed the encounter in only 56 minutes without facing a break point. Ramos-Vinolas will next play Austrian Jürgen Melzer, who upset Roberto Bautista-Agut on Tuesday evening.
Second Round Kicks Offs
Eighth seed Ivo Karlovic is the first man making his way into the quarterfinals. In the first of three second round matches, the big serving Croat defeated qualifier Damir Dzmuhr of Bosnia and Herzegovina 7-6, 4-6, 7-6. Karlovic will next take on Russia’s #NextGen star Karen Khachanov, who outlasted Georgian qualifier Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-2, 7-5 in 76 minutes.
John Isner also advanced to the stage of the final eight, fighting past Feliciano López. The world number 27 from the United States, who had also won the past two meetings with the Spaniard, fired 31 aces and lost his serve once but emerged victorious without gaining a break after two hours and 13 minutes. Isner awaits the winner of the match between Murray and Simon.