De Greef Ousts Rio Defending Champion Cuevas
Belgian qualifier Arthur De Greef claimed his "biggest win" on Monday at the Rio Open presented by Claro. The 24-year-old prevailed against defending champion and No. 3 seed Pablo Cuevas 6-3, 3-6, 7-5, claiming the only break of the 65-minute third set in a memorable final game.
"It was unbelievable," said De Greef following his third tour-level match win. "I played from the start till the end a very good match. It was unbelievable with the crowd who was going crazy. We did a few unbelievable points. I enjoyed a lot."
De Greef, who reached a career-high No. 129 Emirates ATP Rankings in January, goes on to play Argentine Nicolas Kicker, a 7-5, 6-0 winner over fellow qualifier Marco Cecchinato. Cuevas had upset Rafael Nadal last year en route to the ATP World Tour 500 clay-court title.
Norway's Casper Ruud made good use of his wild card, beating Brazilian Rogerio Dutra Silva 6-3, 6-4 for his first ATP World Tour match win. The #NextGenATP player, currently ranked No. 208 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, did not face a break point in the 85-minute match to advance to the second round, where he will face Roberto Carballes Baena. The Spanish qualifier needed just over an hour to oust No. 8 seed Joao Sousa 6-3, 6-1.
Dusan Lajovic defeated Argentine Facundo Bagnis, claiming a 6-4, 6-4 victory in 88 minutes. The Serbian will face either second seed Dominic Thiem or countryman Janko Tipsarevic in the second round. Meanwhile, Diego Schwartzman topped fellow Argentine Renzo Olivo 6-2, 3-6, 6-4 in his opening match. He awaits the winner of the match between seventh seed Paolo Lorenzi and Federico Delbonis.
The tournament’s top seed, Kei Nishikori, who finished as runner-up to Alexandr Dolgopolov in the Argentina Open final on Sunday, will play his opening match against home hope Thomaz Bellucci on Tuesday.