Rock-Solid Giron Blunts Bublik In Chengdu

Kecmanovic, Thompson, Lajovic also advance at ATP 250

Marcos Giron bounced back from a tough run of results in style Thursday at the Chengdu Open. The American downed fifth seed and 2019 finalist Alexander Bublik 7-6(6), 6-3 to reach the second round at the Chinese ATP 250.

Faced with fast conditions ideally suited to Bublik’s big-serving, free-hitting game, Giron rallied from 0-2 and then crucially held firm to claim a see-saw first-set tie-break that featured seven mini-breaks. The World No. 64 carried that momentum to an ultimately unassailable 5-0 lead in the second set as he snapped a four-match losing streak at all levels in 101 minutes.

“Bublik obviously is an incredible player,” said Giron, who now leads Bublik 3-1 in the pair’s Lexus ATP Head2Head series. “He has so much potential, so much weaponry, and you never know really what’s going to come.

“The first set really was a battle. It was so important. He had a lot of break points, but I played well when I needed to. He served well and that’s what he is [always] going to do, so I knew in the breaker he was not going to give it to me, and I’m really happy with that."

Giron saved five of Bublik’s seven break points as he made the perfect start to defending the 150 Pepperstone ATP Ranking points he earned by reaching the San Diego final this week a year ago. The 30-year-old, who is now 19-22 for the 2023 season, will take on Arthur Rinderknech in the second round after the Frenchman downed lucky loser Tu Li 7-6(5), 7-6(6).

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Jordan Thompson also upset a seeded opponent on Thursday. The Australian defeated his countryman Max Purcell 6-2, 7-6(8) after saving four set points in the second-set tie-break. Thompson’s reward for ousting the sixth-seeded Purcell is a maiden Lexus ATP Head2Head clash with Dusan Lajovic, who moved past Zizou Bergs 6-4, 1-6, 6-3.

There was no such trouble for seventh seed Miomir Kecmanovic, who eased to a 6-2, 6-3 win against qualifier Benjamin Lock to book a second-round meeting with Corentin Moutet. Christopher O’Connell and Juan Pablo Varillas also enjoyed straight-sets wins in their Chengdu openers. Australia’s O’Connell downed Alibek Kachmazov 7-6(3), 6-4, while Peru’s Varillas saw off home wild card Cui Jie 6-1, 6-3.

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