Dubai: Former champion Roberto Bautista Agut and debuting fourth seed Fabio Fognini will be the only two top-eight seeds missing when the second round of the Dubai Duty Free Men’s Open is played, on Wednesday.
The winner here in 2018, fifth-seeded Bautista Agut was on Tuesday knocked off by Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff 7-6 (2), 7-5, while Fognini will depart with a debut to forget after caving in 3-6, 6-4, 7-5 against Great Britain’s top player Daniel Evans.
Earlier, second seed and last year’s losing finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas had eased his way past Spaniard, Pablo Carreno Bustas in straight sets 7-6 (1), 6-1 before a near-full stadium after Benoit Paire had set the perfect tone for the day with an entertaining 2-6, 7-5, 7-6 (1) win over 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic to earn a place against fellow Frenchman Richard Gasquet in Wednesday’s second round.
Top seed Novak Djokovic had led third seed Gael Monfils, sixth seed Andrey Rublev and seventh seed Karen Khachanov into the second round at the end of opening round matches on Monday.
Four-time winner Djokovic, who is in Dubai after a four-year break, will take on Philipp Kohlschreiber – at 36 the oldest in the main draw this year.
Kohlschreiber had called in all his experience to get past Egypt’s Mohammad Safwat in three sets.
Khachanov, who last year bought an apartment in Dubai, will play qualifier Dennis Novak, while third seed Monfils will be up against Japanese qualifier Yasutaka Uchiyama.
Sixth seed Rublev, who impressed with a 6-4, 6-4 win over qualifier Lorenzo Musetti in the opening round, will face Serbian Filip Krajinovic, while Evans will take on Pierre-Hugues Herbert, one of all four Frenchmen who advanced to the second round this year.
The match of the night was between Tsitsipas – landing in Dubai after successfully defending his Open 13 title in Marseille last Sunday – and Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta.
Tsitsipas broke in second but the Spaniard broke back in fifth and held to draw level 3-3. From then both managed to hold serve till Tsitsipas played a near-perfect tie-breaker to win 7-1 and take the set in 66 entertaining minutes.
In the second, Tsitsipas broke in the very first game to lead 1-0 and that set the tone for the remainder of the set as the 21-year-old Greek waltzed through 6-1, where he will meet Kazakhstan’s Alexander Bublik.
“I’m playing good tennis. I’m not trying to go for too much or too little. I’m not pushing myself to the limits like I did last year. I think I’ve always learned from that, kind of been more smart in the way I handle certain situations and moments in the match without trying to push myself too much, although that’s my main focus point, trying to go all in,” Tsitsipas said.
“In a way I’m smarter when it comes to this. I’m also happy that I got two-set victories for a very long time. I’m not spending extra hours out on the court, which for sure it’s going to help me,” he added.
(Singles) Stefanos Tsitsipas bt Pablo Carreno Busta 7-6 (1), 6-1; Ricardas Berankis bt Nikoloz Basilashvili 5-7, 7-6, 6-3; Jan-Lennard Struff bt Roberto Bautista Agut 7-6 (2), 7-5; Benoit Paire bt Marin Cilic 2-6, 7-5, 7-6 (1); Daniel Novak bt Prajnesh Gunneswaran 6-4, 6-3; Yasutaka Uchiyama bt Yen-Hsun Lu 3-6, 6-1, 6-2; Alexander Bublik bt Hubert Hurkacz 6-2, 7-5; Filip Krajinovic bt Joao Sousa 4-6, 6-3, 6-3; Daniel Evans bt Fabio Fognini 3-6, 6-4, 7-5; Pierre-Hugues Herbert bt Yoshihito Nishioka 7-5, 6-2.
(Doubles) Rajeev Ram/Joe Salisbury vs Marin Cilic/Novak Djokovic; Jurgen Melzer/Edouard Roger-Vasselin bt Jamie Murray/Neal Skupski 6-1, 7-6; Raven Klaasen/Oliver Marach bt Karen Khachanov/Andrey Rublev 6-2, 7-5; Matthew Ebden/Leander Paes bt Ivan Dodig/Filip Polasek 6-4, 6-3; Wesley Koolhof/Nikola Mektic bt Abdul Rahman Al Janahi/Fares Al Janahi 6-0, 6-1.
Order of Play (Wednesday)
Centre Court (Start at 2 pm) Andrey Rublev vs Filip Krajinovic; Alexander Bublik vs Stefanos Tsitsipas; (7 pm) Noval Djokovic vs Philipp Kohlschreiber; Gael Monfils vs Yasutaka Uchiyama.
Court 1 (Start at 2 pm) Pierre-Hugues Herbert vs Daniel Evans; Dennis Novak vs Karen Khachanov; (5 pm) Jan-Lennard Struff vs Nikoloz Basilashvili; Richard