CHENGDU, September 24, 2018 (Press Release)
Portugal’s Joao Sousa was the first seed to move into the second round of the Chengdu Open 2018 on Monday with a hard-fought 7-6(1), 6-7(7), 6-3 victory over American Tim Smyczek in one hour and 44 minutes.
“It’s always a great feeling to win after a long battle. I think I played very well, especially in the third set. The crowd today was great and cheering for me so I’m happy to get my first win here in Chengdu and move into the second round,” said the 29-year-old.
World No.50 Sousa is feeling rejuvenated this season, having picked up his third career title (and first title in three years) in his home nation earlier this year at the Estoril Open.
“It’s a dream come true winning at Estoril. Perhaps the best week of my life. Me and my team have been trying to do it for many years so it was really something special,” added the Guimaraes native.
Former world No. 17 Bernard Tomic, who has endured a difficult period both on and off the court in the last two years, showed glimpses of being back to his best as he fought back from a set down to notch his third victory in as many days, defeating American Bradley Klahn 6-7(6), 7-6(3), 6-2 in two hours and 17 minutes.
In doubles action today, top seeded Croatian pair Mate Pavic and Ivan Dodig overturned a one set deficit to secure a 4-6, 6-3, 10-5 victory over Leander Paes and Miguel Angel Reyes-Varela and move into the second round.
First time partners Matthew Ebden and Mischa Zverev also recorded a comfortable 6-3, 6-2 first round win over Chinese wild card pairing Gao Xin and Te Rigele.
The first round tie between local wild card Wu Yibing and Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime, which was slated to be the final match of the night, was postponed until tomorrow due to inclement weather. Eighteen-year-old Auger-Aliassime was given a Lucky Loser card into the main draw after wild card Zhang Ze pulled out with injury.
The Chengdu Open moves into the thick of first round action on Tuesday with eight singles and four doubles matches to be played across three courts.
All the remaining three seeds in the first round are slated to commence their campaigns.
Frenchman Gael Monfils, seeded fifth here in Chengdu, will take on South African qualifier Lloyd Harris in the day’s third match on Centre Court.
Former World No. 6 Monfils started the season with his seventh ATP World Tour title at Doha.
Sixth seeded Aussie Matthew Ebden, who has made two ATP 250 semifinals since June, faces Russia’s Evgeny Donskoy in his opening match tomorrow, while American eighth seed Tennys Sandgren meets Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan.
Sandgren made his first career finals appearance at Houston in April to achieve career high of No.47 (currently at No.58), while Kukushkin is fresh off a strong run to the third round of the US Open, which included a win over Korean Hyeon Chung.
In their only previous encounter, Kukushkin prevailed in straights sets on the clay courts of Roland Garros last year.
Eastbourne titlist Mischa Zverev is also in action on Tuesday, with the 31-year-old German taking on Belgian qualifier Belgian Ruben Bemelmans. In their most recent encounter, world No.69 Zverev lost to Bemelmans in the 2017 Davis Cup group stage.
In Tuesday night’s featured Centre Court match, last year’s finalist Marcos Baghdatis will meet Tunisian Malek Jaziri for their first encounter on Tour.
The 33-year-old former world No.8 has continued to struggle with injury this year but will look to make a strong comeback on the familiar courts of Chengdu, where he boasts a 5-2 match record from the last two editions.
In other matches, world No. 1 junior Chun Hsin Tseng is set to make his ATP World Tour debut tomorrow against American Taylor Fritz, while former world No.11 American Sam Querrey takes on Argentinian Guido Pella in the day’s first match slated for Centre Court.