RIO DE JANEIRO, February 21, 2018
Two former Rio Open champions took the courts in Tuesday’s continuation of first-round singles matches. Leading off on the main show court were 2016 champion and No. 7 seed Pablo Cuevas, who rallied past wild card Thiago Monteiro of Brazil 6-7, 7-6, 6-3.
The 32-year-old from Uruguay, who also owned all three of their previous meetings, sent down 11 aces, winning 80 per cent of his first service points to prevail after two hours and 41 minutes.
“I am very happy with this win today,” Cuevas told. “The first match is always important. I saved three match points, so I am very pleased to reach the second round. This win gives me confidence to continue.”
Cuevas, who beat Monteiro en route to his title win in 2016, will next take on Gastao Elias of Portugal.
Defending champion Dominic Thiem opened his Rio campaign with a comfortable 6-2, 7-5 victory over Dusan Lajovic of Serbia. The No. 2 seed from Austria converted four of his 11 break point chances to advance in one hour and 17 minutes.
Next up for Thiem will be Pablo Andújar of Spain, who won his first match on the ATP World Tour since January 2016 in Doha. The 32-year-old Cuenca native, who struggled with injuries and dropped to World No. 1821 in the ATP rankings, defeated Austrian Gerald Melzer 7-5, 6-2. The encounter lasted one hour and 31 minutes.
Gael Monfils continued his successful season after clinching the title in Doha and making a semi-final appearance in Buenos Aires and quarterfinal appearance in Quito. The 32-year-old Frenchman came back from a 5-2 deficit in the final set to overcome Argentine Horacio Zeballos 7-5, 3-6, 7-5 in two hours and 19 minutes.
“It was a tough match for me,” Monfils said. “I never stopped believing and definitely had a huge help with the crowd. The crowd was amazing tonight.” He will next face top seed Marin Cilic.