Read & Watch: Dimitrov Opens Beijing Campaign
Verdasco digs deep to beat Monfils
Third seed and 2016 finalist Grigor Dimitrov started his China Open campaign with a 7-5, 6-3 victory over American lucky loser Tennys Sandgren on Tuesday in 83 minutes. The Bulgarian, who is hoping to finish the season strongly, recorded his 15th hard-court match win of 2018 (23-16 overall) and will now prepare to face Serbia’s Dusan Lajovic in the second round.
“It's never easy when you've never played against a guy,” said Dimitrov. “So I think it took me quite a few games to kind of get in a rhythm, see what kind of game plan he had [and] just try to get comfortable in the match. I think the first set was obviously the tough set. After that, I kind of picked up my pace a little bit more, I started playing a little bit more aggressive. I think, also, I was moving well.”
Dimitrov opened a 5-2 lead in the first set, but had his serve broken in the ninth game. He converted his fourth set point opportunity to break Sandgren, a late replacement for Ryan Harrison, for the 43-minute opener and then took firm control by winning the first three games of the second set. Harrison pulled out prior to the match due to a back injury.
Spain’s Fernando Verdasco is one win from reaching the Beijing quarter-finals for the third time (2009 and 2011) after scraping past Gael Monfils, the Frenchman making his debut at the tournament, 2-6, 7-6(3), 7-6(5) in two hours and 23 minutes. Verdasco recovered from 0/4 down in the deciding set tie-break.