Thiem, Tsitsipas Begin Title Bid At China Open

ATP Players at the Olympic Tower in Beijing (photo: China Open)

BEIJING, October 1, 2019

Five of the Top 10 players in the ATP Rankings are playing at this week’s China Open, with World No. 5 Dominic Thiem, No. 7 Stefanos Tsitsipas and No. 10 Roberto Bautista Agut in first-round action on Tuesday. World No. 6 Alexander Zverev and No. 9 Karen Khachanov advanced to the second round with straight-set wins on Monday.

Thiem opened his title bid with a 6-4, 6-1 victory over French veteran Richard Gasquet. The top seed of the ATP 500 hard-court event remained untroubled, didn’t face a break point and converted three of his own eight chances to prevail after one hour and 22 minutes.

“I was ready from the first point on, as I have had a lot of trouble from him in the past,” said Thiem, quoted by the ATP Tour website, after his first win over Gasquet in the pair’s third meeting.

The 26-year-old Austrian will next face Chinese wild card Zhizhen Zhang. “I tried to avoid that today, I felt great from the first practice and it’s great to get my first win in Beijing. It’s one of the strongest tournaments, you can lose every match, but I was very good today.”

Tsitsipas overcame a one set deficit to beat Dusan Lajovic from Serbia 4-6, 6-3, 6-4. The No. 3 seed from Greece sent down five aces and won 84 per cent of his first-service points to secure victory in just under two hours of play. Tsitsipas will now play Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia, who beat Argentine Guido Pella by the score of 6-4, 7-6(3) in one hour and 42 minutes.

Bautista-Agut was forced to retire against US-American Sam Querrey trailing 6-7(2), 1-4 due to injury.

Andy Murray took another big step in the right direction after his hip surgery earlier this year by knocking out No. 8 seed Matteo Berrettini of Italy 7-6(2), 7-6(7). The 32-year-old Briton, currently ranked World No. 503, produced a brilliant display and outpointed the Nitto ATP Finals contender 84-74 after two hours and one minute.

“It was a tight match and I thought I did pretty well,” said Murray, quoted by the BBC.

“Hopefully, I can have a good run here. That was a good start for me.

“It’s a bit of progress for me again this week which is good. I feel like the progress has been quite consistent and, hopefully, that keeps going through until the end of the year.”

Murray will next take on compatriot Cameron Norrie.