Hurkacz Continues Winning Ways In Auckland
The Pole required just a single break of serve in each set and saved all four break points to advance in one hour and 47 minutes. Hurkacz went 3-0 in Group E singles play last week in Sydney, defeating a trio of higher-ranked opponents in Dominic Thiem, Diego Schwartzman and Borna Coric.
Hurkacz will face 2019 Next Gen ATP Finals qualifier Mikael Ymer in the second round. The Swede broke Frances Tiafoe on four occasions to record a 6-4, 5-7, 6-1 victory after two hours and eight minutes.
American Tennys Sandgren opened his title defence in style with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Kiwi wild card Michael Venus. Sandgren, who captured his maiden ATP Tour crown 12 months ago in Auckland (d. Norrie), picked up his first tour-level win since last year’s US Open. The 28-year-old will now have an all-American clash with fourth seed and two-time Auckland champion John Isner.
Brazilian Thiago Monteiro rallied from a 2-4 deficit in the opening set en route to a 7-6(3), 6-2 victory over Brit Cameron Norrie, last year’s runner-up at this event. He’ll play fifth-seeded Frenchman Benoit Paire, who got the better of #NextGenATP Italian Jannik Sinner 6-4, 2-6, 6-4. The 18-year-old Sinner was playing his first tour-level match since prevailing on home soil in last year’s Next Gen ATP Finals (d. De Minaur).
In a battle of players who also competed in last year's season-ending Next Gen event in Milan, Frenchman Ugo Humbert fought past Norwegian Casper Ruud 7-6(3), 2-6, 6-3 in two hours and 19 minutes. Next up for Humbert is eighth-seeded Moldovan Radu Albot or Italian Marco Cecchinato.