CHENGDU, September 23, 2019 (Press Release)
The singles main draw got off to a rocking start this afternoon as Chilean number one Cristian Garin put on a stellar showing in his Chengdu Open debut to oust number seven seed Kyle Edmund 6-3, 6-2 in 72 minutes on Centre Court.
Garin, who picked up his first two career titles on the clay courts of Houston and Munich this year, was the first to lose his serve in the third game set but bounced back quickly to break his British opponent in the fourth and sixth games to take the first set.
In the second set, Garin raced to a 4-0 lead with two early breaks before holding his serve to notch yet another impressive win in a season where he has defeated Alexander Zverev, John Isner and Diego Schwartzman.
— Chengdu Open (@ChengduOpen) September 23, 2019
“I think it’s my best match this year on hard court for sure. Kyle is a tough opponent to face in the first round so I’m very happy with the way I played,” said the 23-year-old.
The Santiago native started the match at No.33 in the rankings, just one behind the 24-year-old Edmund, and has a good chance of eclipsing his career high of No.32 (achieved in June this year) if he continues his fine form here.
“This year I have a very solid team with my coach, fitness coach and physio. We have been working very hard together so I think that is a big thing for me. Of course, I won two titles and I didn’t expect it. It makes me more confident and I’m playing way better than last year,” said the Chilean on his rise this season.
The day’s second match was a tightly fought affair between two qualifiers. Higher ranked American Bradley Klahn (No. 97) had to rally from a set down to clinch a 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(2) victory over Chinese Taipei’s Jason Jung (No. 132) in two hours and 13 minutes.
The final match of the day on Centre Court was even an even more closely contested encounter. Local wild card Bai Yan, currently the highest ranked Chinese player on tour at No. 222, put up a tremendous display to rally from a set down in front of an enthusiastic crowd but ultimately came up short against Britain’s world No.48 Daniel Evans.
Evans eventually booked his second round spot after a hard fought 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(4) victory in a marathon two hours and 30 minutes – the longest match of the tournament thus far.
Six first round singles matches along with three first round doubles ties will be contested tomorrow at the Sichuan International Tennis Centre across three courts.
Fifth seed Dusan Lajovic of Serbia will be the only seeded singles player to see action, as he faces off against Argentinian rising star Juan Ignacio Londero for the first time on tour in tomorrow’s first match on Court 2.
Both players have had great results on clay this year. World No. 29 Lajovic made his first career final at the Monte-Carlo Masters in April to reach a career high of No.23 and picked up his maiden Tour level trophy at Umag in July.
Meanwhile, 26-year-old Londero started the year ranked at No. 117, but rose to a career high of No.55 in August following a defining season in which he picked up his first career title at Cordoba in February and reached his second career final in Bastad in July. The Argentine also memorably made the last sixteen at the French Open, defeating Nikoloz Basilashvili and Richard Gasquet along the way.
Australian NextGen contender Alexei Popyrin, who defeated 2017 champ Denis Istomin in qualifying yesterday to make the main draw, will be in action against Spain’s former world No.7 Fernando Verdasco in tomorrow’s first Centre Court match.
The world No.91 20-year-old reached his career high of No.87 just two months ago and is fresh off making the US Open third round with wins over Federico Delbonis and Mikhail Kukushkin.
The 35-year-old Verdasco, who possesses seven career singles titles, is currently ranked at No.35 and had a deep run on the clay courts of the Rome Masters in May (defeated Dominic Thiem in second round and Karen Khachanov in third) and made the last sixteen at Wimbledon this year.
Both singles wild cards will see action in the other two matches slated for Centre Court tomorrow.
First up, local star Li Zhe takes on Egor Gerasimov of Belarus before Korean Hyeon Chung commences his campaign against Portuguese Joao Sousa.
Chung prevailed in straight sets in his previous meeting against Sousa at the 2018 Miami Masters, but the former world No.19 Korean was out of action from February to July this year with injury and will have to be at his best to defeat the perpetually consistent Sousa, who made the last four here in Chengdu last year.
In another intriguing first round match, Moldova’s Radu Albot will take on former world No.10 Pablo Carreno Busta for the second time in a Tour level tournament, having previously beaten the Spaniard at Wimbledon last year.
The second and fourth doubles seeds are set to take to court as doubles main draw action gets underway tomorrow on Court 1 and Court 2.
Last year’s losing finalist Austin Krajicek is back this year and seeded second with Dominic Inglot of Great Britain. The American-British tandem, who picked up two titles at Atlanta and s-Hertogenbosch this year in their first season as a pair, will face off against local wild cards Sun Fajing and Wang Aoran.
The fourth seeded doubles pair features Israeli 2017 Chengdu Open doubles champ Jonathan Erlich (won with Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi) and Frenchman Fabrice Martin, who reached two Challenger finals in France earlier this year, winning the one at St. Brieuc. Their opening match against Garin and Londero will take place on Court 2 in the evening, after suitable rest for the Argentine.