CHENGDU, September 21, 2019 (Press Release)
The 2019 Chengdu Open officially kicked off today with first round qualifying matches being contested on Court 1 and Court 2, and the main draw ceremony for the men’s singles held at the Sichuan International Tennis Stadium interactive area from 3pm onwards.
Top seeded American John Isner and third seeded Frenchman Benoit Paire, both of whom are making their debut in Chengdu this year, found themselves in the top half of the draw, while exciting Canadian youngster Felix Auger-Aliassime, the singles second seed, has fourth seed Grigor Dimitrov for company in the bottom half.
With the top four seeds receiving first round byes, attention will be focused on the remaining four seeds when first round action commences on Monday.
Serbia’s world No. 29 Dusan Lajovic, seeded fifth in the draw, will start his campaign with a first-time encounter against Argentina’s Juan Ignacio Londero, while sixth seeded American Taylor Fritz, who reached his career high of No.25 early last month, will also face a first-time opponent in the form of Kazakhstan’s Alexander Bublik.
Seventh seed Kyle Edmund, who was present at the draw ceremony today, will take on Chile’s Cristian Garin in the first round, having lost to the Chilean in a Challenger match on clay court in their only previous encounter in 2015.
“I’ve only met him once before in a Challenger and I lost, but it was a long time ago and on a different surface. Hopefully, I have improved since then and I’m better now and can get a good result against him,” said the 24-year-old, who is currently ranked at No. 32, but was as high as No.14 in October last year.
Canada’s Denis Shapovalov, the singles eighth seed, opens his campaign with a potentially tricky encounter against Lithuanian number one Ricardas Berankis, with the duo having exchanged victories in their previous two meetings. Twenty-year-old world No.33 Shapovalov prevailed on the hard courts of the Indian Wells Masters last year but lost to the world No.63 Berankis at Wimbledon this year.
In another intriguing first round encounter, Korean wild card Hyeon Chung, who is back in action after an injury layoff from February to July this year, is set to take on the ever-consistent Portuguese Joao Sousa in his opening match. The duo have only met once before at the 2018 Miami Masters, where the former world No.19 Chung prevailed in straight sets.
Both Chinese wild cards escaped facing seeded players in the first round. Li Zhe, who has a chance to break into the Top 200 with a win here in Chengdu, will have to get past Belarusian Egor Gerasimov, who is ranked at No.119 but is in good form at the ongoing St. Petersburg Open in Russia, having made the last four yesterday. The other local wild card, Bai Yan, will face Britain’s Daniel Evans in the first round.
— Chengdu Open (@ChengduOpen) September 21, 2019
The doubles draw of the Chengdu Open will feature two previous double titlists and a former finalist amongst its top four seeded pairs.
Croatian doubles ace Ivan Dodig is back to defend the title he picked up last year with compatriot Mate Pavic, this time set to compete with current Slovakian partner Filip Polasek.
The top seeded tandem, who possess a total of 27 doubles titles between them (14 for Dodig), arrive in Chengdu on the back of a stellar performance at the Cincinnati Masters last month, where they reached their second final of the year (also at Antalya) and picked up their first trophy as a pair. They will face the Czech-Slovakian partnership of Roman Jebavy and Igor Zelenay in the first round.
The second seeds will comprise of American Austin Krajicek, who was a losing finalist in Chengdu last year, and Dominic Inglot of Great Britain. The duo are on fire this year, having picked up two titles at Atlanta and s-Hertogenbosch, and are likely to ease into the quarterfinals here with a relatively easy first round match against local wild cards Sun Fajing and Wang Aoran.
Thirty-six-year-old Mexican Santiago Gonzalez, who has made the semifinals here for two years running with different partners, is back and seeded third together with 42-year-old former world No.3 Swede Robert Lindstedt.
The duo, who are the oldest pairing in the doubles draw, have a total of 35 titles between them (22 for Lindstedt) but have only partnered together on tour once before, losing in the first round of the Oracle Challenger Series at New Haven earlier this month. They will open their campaign against the Serbian pair of Nikola Cacic and Dusan Lajovic.
The fourth seeded doubles pair features another previous Chengdu Open doubles champ in the form of Israeli Jonathan Erlich, who memorably picked up the title with Pakistani partner Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi in 2017.
This time around, Erlich will partner in-form Frenchman Fabrice Martin, with whom he made two Challenger finals in France early this year, winning the one at St. Brieuc. They face the Chile-Argentina tandem of Cristian Garin and Juan Ignacio Londero in the first round.
In qualifying action, the battle between two former Chengdu Open singles titlists featuring Aussie defending champ Bernard Tomic and 2017 champ Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan came to a premature end during the second set of a one-sided affair.
The score stood at 6-1, 3-1 in favour of Istomin after 36 minutes when Tomic retired from the match, citing a left wrist injury. This is only the second time that the 33-year-old Uzbek has prevailed over his 26-year-old opponent in their six Tour level meetings stretching back to 2012.
Also moving into the final round of singles qualifying after victories today are Russian Lloyd Harris (who rallied from a set down against plucky qualifying wild card Cui Jie), American Bradley Klahn, Chinese Taipei’s Jason Jung, Poland’s Kamil Majchrzak and three Australian players – Alexei Popyrin, Luke Saville and James Duckworth.
The finals of the qualifying round will commence tomorrow from 11am onwards, with two matches each slated for Centre Court and Court 1.
There will be free admission to qualifying round matches, Court 1 and 2 matches. Tickets for the Chengdu Open Main Draw Center Court matches through to the finals are available through www.damai.cn