STUTGART, June 11, 2019
With Matteo Berrettini and Nick Kyrgios, two of hardest hitters on the ATP Tour headlined Tuesday’s first-round action at the MercedesCup. The 23-year-old Italian emerged victorious from the powerful encounter, winning 6-3, 6-4.
Berretini found the right answers to the Australian’s attacking game style. One break in each set and the World No. 30 advanced to the second round after only 53 minutes.
“I am really happy with my second match on grass this year after the Davis Cup in India,” Berrettini said. “I am pleased with my performance. The serve was key and I was focused and ready when I had my chances on the return.”
It was Berrettini’s first meeting with Kyrgios. “It was difficult to play against him, as he has a lot of great strokes,” the Rome native commented. He will next face No. 2 seed Karen Khachanov of Russia. “He played a great tournament at Roland Garros. He has conficence but I will be ready.”
In the opening match of the day, Jan-Lennard Struff celebrated his third win over Canadian young gun and No. 8 seed Denis Shapovalov in the pair’s fourth tour meeting. The 29-year-old from Germany struck 14 aces, winning 80 per cent of his first service points, to advance after one hour and 25 minutes.
“Its always tough playing a first match on grass, as the balls bounce in a different way,” Struff said. “I am very happy to get the win.”
Struff advanced to the second round in Stuttgart for only the third time and next will take on Serbian youngster Miomir Kecmanovic. “During the off-season, we practiced for two weeks together in Tenerife. He is a very nice guy but also a dangerous player. I need to be focused,” Struff said.
Dustin Brown set a second-round clash with top seed Alexander Zverev. The German qualifier defeated Australian John Millman 6-4, 7-6(3). Brown finished the encounter after one hour and 12 minutes.
“I had a phenomenal start into the match. I served big and also returned very well,” Brown was pleased with his performance. “I struggled a bit in the second set with my volleys but I kept calm and managed to win the match.”
— Florian Heer (@Florian_Heer) 11. Juni 2019
Raonic returns to action
Elsewhere, Milos Raonic made a successful comeback to the tour. The No. 6 seed from Canada, who missed the entire clay-court season due to a right knee injury, fought past Australian qualifier Alexei Popyrin 6-7(6), 6-4, 7-6(4) in two hours and 12 minutes. Up next for Raonic will be Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
Raonic’s compatriot Felix Auger-Aliassime celebrated a successful debut at the venue of the Tennis Club Weissenhof. The 18-year-old Montreal native edged past Ernests Gulbis from Latvia, winning 7-5, 6-3 in one hour and 26 minutes. Auger-Aliassime will next take on French veteran Gilles Simon.
No. 4 seed Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia and Marton Fucsovics will open Wednesday’s tennis action in Stuttgart. Third favourite Daniil Medvedev of Russia will start his title bid against 2017 champion Lucas Pouille.
Photo Gallery (by Florian Heer)