© © Andrew Eichenholz/ATP Tour

Daniel Altmaier advances to the second round with a straight-sets win over Sam Querrey.

Altmaier Eases Past Querrey To Reach Second Round, Popyrin Advances

German to next face World No. 28 Grigor Dimitrov

Daniel Altmaier defeated birthday-boy Sam Querrey on Stadium 1 to reach the second round of the BNP Paribas Open Thursday, advancing 6-2, 6-4 in 62 minutes.

Altmaier out-aced 34-year-old Querrey, who has served the fifth-most aces of all time, by seven to two. The American's serve was not at its usual potency, as he also served eight double faults and only made 42 per cent of first serves.

Altmaier's victory was build around his dominance on the shorter points. The German had a decisive 46-26 edge in points of 0-4 shots per Infosys ATP Stats Rally Analysis.

Querrey, a 10-time ATP Tour champion and former World No. 11, is now 0-7 in his past seven matches.

The 23-year-old German went on back-to-back semi-final runs earlier this year in Umag and Kitzbuehel, also reaching the round of 16 at Roland Garros in 2020 as a qualifier.

Up next for Altmaier is former World No. 3 Grigor Dimitrov, a semi-finalist in San Diego last week.

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Another opening-day winner was Alexei Popyrin, who beat Miomir Kecmanovic 6-3, 7-6(4) to set up a second-round clash with Hubert Hurkacz.

The victory is Popyrin’s first over Kecmanovic, with the 22-year-old Serb winning their first two encounters in straight sets.

Popyrin, who won his first ATP Tour title earlier this year in Singapore, is recapturing his form towards the end of the season. The Australian has now won six of his past eight matches.

Kecmanovic's YTD record now stands at 14-23, and he is 1-7 in ATP Masters 1000 events in 2021. The current World No. 62 won his lone ATP Tour title last season in Kitzbuehel.

Tennys Sandgren was another American to advance Thursday, but he needed nine match points to see off Thiago Monteiro 6-4, 6-3.

"It was anything but smooth sailing in the last 15 minutes," Sandgren told Tennis Channel. "I had 0/40 on his serve at 5/2 and then [in the final game] like four match points, four break points saved, closed my eyes on a few volleys. The ones I had my eyes open on weren't good. The ones I had my eyes closed on were good. I don't know what that means excatly.

"It's been a bad year. Everybody is really good and if you don't play well you're not going to win. It's pretty simple. Tennis is like life. It's up and down. The downs may be longer than you hope, but I'm still here plugging away, trying to get some Ws.”

Sandgren, who is just 8-15 on the season, next faces Briton Cameron Norrie (41-20), quipping "We've basically had opposite years".

Carlos Taberner won an all-Spanish affair against Jaume Munar 6-3, 6-3, while Japan's Taro Daniel defeated German Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-2, 6-4. Taberner will next face fourth-seeded Russian Andrey Rublev in the second round, while Daniel will take on American Reilly Opelka, the 16th seed.