VIENNA, October 24, 2018
Mikhail Kukushkin headlined Wednesday’s first round action at the Erste Bank Open 500. The qualifer from Kazakhstan upset No. 3 seed Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria 6-4, 4-6, 6-4.
Kukushkin outpointed his opponent 110-98 after two hours and 23 minutes. Dimitrov is the only seed, who lost in the opening round of the ATP 500 event.
In-form Russian Karen Khachanov beat home favourite Dennis Novak, who was awarded a wild card into the main draw. The reigning Kremlin Cup champion from Moscow fired 10 aces, winning 70 per cent of his first service points to secure a 6-3, 7-5 victory in one hour and 24 minutes.
“I had far fewer free points than he had on the first serve. I need more percentage so that the opponent can not easily return. I think that was key today,” Novak said. “I was really looking forward to the match, so I am very disappointed. On the other hand, you can not expect that I will easily win against Khachanov. He won his third ATP tournament last week and is playing a very good season.”
No. 8 seeded Briton Kyle Edmund defeated Diego Schwartzman from Argentina 6-3, 7-6(3) and Frenchman Gael Monfils rallied past US-American Steve Johnson 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 in one hour and 44 minutes.
Earlier in the day, Marton Fucsovics advanced to the quarterfinals by knocking off No. 7 seed Fabio Fognini of Italy 4-6, 6-3, 6-2. The 26-year-old Hungarian saved 10 of the 13 break point chances he faced, converting six of his own to prevail after two hours and two minutes. Fucsovis awaits the winner of the encounter between Andrey Rublev of Russia and Mikhail Kukushkin.
Melzer pulls out with health issues
Austrian veteran Jürgen Melzer, who was competing in his last tournament as a singles player, was forced to withdraw from his second round match against No. 2 seed Kevin Anderson due to a stomach flu. The South African will next take on sixth favourite Borna Coric of Croatia.