Millman Begins Title Defence At Astana Open

John Millman (photo: Kazakhstan Tennis Federation)

NUR-SULTAN/STARNBERG, September 21, 2021

John Millman of Australia began his title defence at the Astana Open on Tuesday with a hard-fought first-round win at the National Tennis Center in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan.

The No. 5 seed of the ATP 250 Tour tournament came back from a set down and a 0-2 deficit in the deciding set to overcome local qualifier Dmitry Popko 3-6, 6-1, 6-4. Millman, who beat Adrian Mannarino in last November’s final in straight sets, capitalized on five of his six break-point chances to prevail after two hours and nine minutes.

“I am hoping I can build on that match,” said Millman. “It was a little bit scrappy from my end. Credit to my opponent, he came out having played a couple of matches in those conditions and was probably a little bit better from the start. Once I found my feet, I felt a little bit more comfortable.”

Millman will next take on Jaume Munar from Spain.

Earlier in the day, Lorenzo Musetti also had to go the distance against Australian qualifier Marc Polmans. The 19-year-old Italian won three points less than his opponent but secured a 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 victory in two hours and 19 minutes.

“It was a really tough match, but I played well,” said World No. 57 Musetti.

“He was really solid and he was not missing a ball, so it was not easy to [win] the point. In the third set, I broke him in the third game, a really tough game, and that game was a turning point of the match. So I am really happy with the win.”

Musetti will next look to improve upon his 0-2 head-to-heard record against No. 7 seed Laslo Djere from Serbia in the second round.

Belarusians prevail

In other action, Egor Gerasimov from Belarus knocked out sixth-seeded Frenchman Benoit Paire 7-5, 6-4 to face the winner of the encounter between Spaniard Carlos Taberner and Ricardas Berankis of Lithuania.

Gerasimov’s compatriot Ilya Ivashka also advanced to the next round following a 6-2, 6-4 win over Swedish qualifier Elias Ymer. Ivashka now awaits Kazakhstani wild card entry Timofey Skatov.