CINCINNATI, August 18, 2016
Second round action got underway at the Southern & Western Open with Cincinnati’s top seed Andy Murray making a winning start into the ATP Masters 1000 event on Wednesday. The world number two made quick work of Juan Mónaco, winning 6-3, 6-2 in 77 minutes.
“It’s really humid here, quite different conditions to Rio,” gold medalist Murray told. “The court here is pretty fast. Rio was a lot slower than this. It took a bit of time to get into it, but I did all right.
“I did two short sessions yesterday and two short sessions today. I sometimes find that rather than doing one long session, if you’re going into new conditions, it’s a bit easier to do a couple of shorter sessions. I feel like I get my timing a bit quicker that way.”
Next up for Murray will be Kevin Anderson, who upended 13th seed Richard Gasquet 6-2, 6-4 in one hour and 19 minutes. The South African hit 17 aces and no double faults, and broke the Frenchman four times to score his third win in eight tour meetings with Gasquet.
The tournament’s number two Stan Wawinka had to complete his win against Jared Donaldson, as the match was played over two days when rain interrupted the encounter on Tuesday with the Swiss down a set. Wawrinka eventually prevailed with a 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory in one hour and 54 minutes. He will next face Grigor Dimitrov, who gained an impressive 5-7, 6-3, 7-6 win over Feliciano López, taking the tie-break in the final set 8-6.
The battle between the two NextGen stars Nick Kyrgios and Borna Coric also went the distance, when the 19-year-old Croat overcame the Aussie, winning 7-6, 4-6, 7-6. Coric had to save one match point, withstood 24 aces and hit 16 of his own to advancein two hours and 32 minutes.
“It was a very good match. I’m extremely happy with my performance. I was lucky at times and unlucky at other times, but overall I was brave on the big points,” Coric said. “I will have this pressure to perform for the next 10 years or more, but I don’t have any problems with it. I see it as a challenge.”
Coric will now play third seed Rafael Nadal for the third time. He upset Nadal in Basel in 2014, but the Spaniard got his revenge at the US Open the following year. On Wednesday, the world number five edged past Pablo Cuevas, winning 6-1, 7-6 to avenge a defeat to the Uruguayan in February. Nadal improves his head to head record between the pair to 3-1.
“I think I played well,” Nadal said. “I think I played a good match against a tough opponent in the first round for me for sure.
“After coming from Rio and after the marathon that I had, it’s a very important victory for me. So I’m very happy.”
Fourth seed Milos Raonic won two tie-breaks against John Isner. The match saw only one break point, which was saved by the US-American. Raonic withstood 20 aces, firing 12 of his own and eventually won three points more than his opponent to emerge victorious in one hour and 36 minutes.
“He just played the tie-breaks better than I did,” Isner said. “I knew the match could very easily have a scoreline like that. Of course you hope to be on the good side of it. I was not.”
Raonic will next collide with Japanese qualifier Yuichi Sugita, who was a two-time winner on Wednesday. During the day session, he downed German youngster Alexander Zverev 6-7, 6-4, 6-2 in their first-round encounter. At night, the 27-year-old from Sendai saw off Nicolas Mahut 6-3, 7-5 to book a place in the round of the last 16.
Fellow countryman Kei Nishikori also made a winning start. The fifth seed downed Mikhail Youzhny 6-3, 6-2, saving all six break points he faced to secure victory in one hour and 20 minutes.
Nishikori will next face Bernard Tomic, who came back to upset the tournament’s number 11 David Goffin 3-6, 7-5, 6-4 in one hour and 50 minutes. Nishikori leads their head to head rivalry 2-1 but Tomic took their previous meeting this season in Brisbane in three sets.
Dominic Thiem has already reached the quarterfinals with his first career win in Cincinnati. The 22-year-old Austrian had won his first tour meeting against Australian qualifier John Millman 7-5, 6-1 to advance to the third round before he benefited from the withdrawal of Gael Monfils due to a back injury.