Erste Bank Open Headliners Share Holiday Joy In Vienna

Stefanos Tsitsipas (photo: e-motion/Bildagentur Zolles KG/Christian Hofer)

VIENNA/WASHINGTON, October 26, 2022 (by Michael Dickens)

As the Erste Bank Open reached Day 3 of the main draw and the tournament celebrated Austrian National Day, bringing a holiday atmosphere to the ATP 500 event, it was finally time for three of the biggest headliners – top seed Daniil Medvedev, No. 2 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas and No. 6 seed Jannik Sinner – to make their first appearances on the Wiener Stadthalle center court Wednesday.

Each of the trio easily won to move into the second round.

• First, the World No. 12 Sinner lost just seven points on his serve en route to an easy 6-3, 6-2 victory over No. 86 Cristian Garin of Chile for his 46th win of the season. The 21-year-old Italian, who was a semifinalist in Vienna last year, closed out his 73-minute first-round victory with three of his nine aces in the final game. He finished with 21 winners and outpointed Garin 59-35. Next, Sinner will face No. 29 Francisco Cerundolo of Argentina in Thursday’s second round.

• Next, the World No. 5 Tsitsipas took on 155th-ranked Austrian wild card Dennis Novak, who was looking for his first career Top 10 win (after going 0-3). The Greek star came into the first-round match with an ATP Tour-leading 56 wins and he’s been to seven finals this season. While Novak faced a daunting task, he held his own against Tsitsipas – especially in his very first service game, which lasted 10 minutes and covered 20 points before Novak held service. Novak took the first set to a tie-break before Tsitsipas prevailed.

Then, the 24-year-old Greek star had an easier go in the second set and won the first-round match, 7-6 (2), 6-2, in an hour and 28 minutes after striking his eighth ace and 24th winner overall. Novak became the last of three Austrian wild cards to be eliminated in the opening round. On Thursday, Tsitsipas will face No. 27 Borna Coric of Croatia in a rematch of their Western & Southern Open final for a place in the Vienna quarterfinals.

“It took time to adjust to these new conditions,” said Tsitsipas, quoted by the ATP Tour website. “I was playing against an opponent that I didn’t know much about. I hadn’t played him before.

“I did really well in the second set, kind of finding my steps and getting a good feel of the court, of the balls. It was a very good second set, in my opinion. I just wish I could have pulled that off in the fist set but it didn’t come. I had to fight hard in that first one to get it and play a good tie-break.”

Tsitsipas has already locked up his fourth consecutive berth in next month’s Nitto ATP Finals in Turin, Italy, an event he won in his 2019 debut.

• In the holiday’s featured match, the World No. 4 Medvedev faced Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia in a first-time meeting. Medvedev, who held No. 1 for 16 weeks in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings earlier this season, came in looking for his 30th win (29-10) on hard courts in 2022 – and his first since becoming a father earlier this month.

As it turned out, Medvedev experienced little trouble in beating No. 94 Basilashvili, 6-2, 6-2. He finished with an economical 10 aces and 15 winners, and made just six unforced errors during the one-hour match. The loss dropped the Georgian to 7-21 lifetime against Top 10 opponents (1-3 this season), while the win set up an exciting second-round showdown for Medvedev against Austrian favorite son Dominic Thiem on Thursday afternoon.

Around the Erste Bank Open

• No. 58 Marcos Giron of the United States, who last month reached his first ATP Tour final in San Diego, defeated No. 71 Tallon Griekspoor of the Netherlands, 6-4, 6-2. In Giron’s Vienna debut, he outpointed the No. 2 Dutchman Griekspoor 63-45. Next, Giron will face No. 7 seed Cameron Norrie of Great Britain in the second round on Thursday.

• No. 26 Daniel Evans of Great Britain took on No. 18 Karen Khachanov of Russia for the third time – and it was all Evans. The Briton reached his sixth Tour quarterfinal of the season with a 6-2, 6-2 victory over the Russian for his 29th tour-level win of 2022. He struck 19 winners and converted five of eight break-point chances.

• In Friday’s quarterfinal round, Evans will face No. 19 Denis Shapovalov of Canada, who knocked off  World No. 10 and fourth seed Taylor Fritz of the United States, 6-1, 4-6, 6-3, in an hour and 42 minutes. Shapovalov hit 10 aces and struck 29 winners. He won 88 percent of his first-serve points and outpointed Fritz 83-63. It was Shapovalov’s fifth career win over Fritz and it advanced the Canadian No. 2 to his eighth quarterfinal of the season.

• Doubles No. 1 seeds Rajeev Ram of the United States and Joe Salisbury of Great Britain were upset in their opening match by Great Britain’s Daniel Evans and John Peers of Australia, 6-3, 6-2. The winners, who outpointed the top-ranked team 53-33, moved into the quarterfinals against Belgium’s Sander Gille and Joran Vliegen. Also, wild cards Robin Haase of the Netherlands and Philipp Oswald of Austria advanced with a 7-6 (4), 7-5 win over Lukasz Kubot of Poland and Fabrice Martin of France.

Meanwhile, last week’s finalists in Antwerp, Rohan Bopanna of India and Matwe Middelkoop of the Netherlands advanced to the quarterfinals with a 6-1, 6-3 win over Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman and Pedro Cachin. Next, they will face Santiago Gonzalez of Mexico and Andreas Moltini of Argentina, who pulled off the day’s second upset in doubles by eliminating No. 2 seeds Wesley Koolhof of the Netherlands and Neal Skupski of Great Britain, 7-6 (6), 7-5.

Wednesday’s Erste Bank Open results

Thursday’s Erste Bank Open order of play

All in a day off the tennis courts for Rublev

Andrey Rublev

Andrey Rublev (photo: e-motion/Bildagentur Zolles KG/Christian Hofer)

No. 3 seed Andrey Rublev, who won his first-round match Monday and will face No. 32 Grigor Dimitrov in the second round on Thursday, spent a very busy day off the courts on Wednesday. That’s because he was very present inside Wiener Stadthalle.

For the World No. 8 Rublev, it included serving espressos and other coffee-inspired beverages as well as signing autographs and posing for fan selfies at Lavazza. He also did an autograph session on behalf of Wiener Städtische Vienna Insurance Group.

By the numbers

With his first-round win on Wednesday, Jannik Sinner has a 27-8 record on hard courts this season, which includes reaching one semifinal (Sofia) plus four quarterfinal finishes (including the Australian Open and US Open).

“Quotable …”

How Austrian are the players competing at the Erste Bank Open in Vienna this week? Find out in this ATP Tour video: