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Aslan Karatsev rallies past Alejandro Tabilo behind three service breaks on Monday to advance to the second round in London.

New To Grass? No Problem For Karatsev At Queen's Club

The 2021 breakthrough star will next play Norrie

Aslan Karatsev arrived at the cinch Championships without a grass-court tour-level match on his resumé, but it did not take the Russian long to adjust on Monday evening.

The 2021 breakthrough star rallied past Chilean lucky loser Alejandro Tabilo 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 to reach the second round at The Queen's Club. Karatsev had only previously played four tournaments on this surface at any level — including two Wimbledon qualifying attempts in 2014 and 2015 — and tallied a 1-4 record.

"[It's] completely different than the other surfaces," Karatsev said in his on-court interview. "It was the first match, a tough opponent, lefty. I got used to it and in the end I found the way to manage it."

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The fifth seed struggled gaining control of points in the first set, in which he did not earn a break point. But Karatsev found his rhythm as the match wore on, and he won 75 per cent of his second-serve points en route to a one-hour, 38-minute victory.

"The second set was a bit tricky. I broke him, and then in the third set he started really slowly," Karatsev said. "I got used to his serve and I returned everything that I could. It was easier for me [from there]."

Karatsev will next play British lefty Cameron Norrie, who clawed past Spanish veteran Albert Ramos-Vinolas 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 earlier in the day. This will be their first ATP Head2Head meeting.

Norrie, like Karatsev, has enjoyed the best season of his career and he is up to a career-high No. 41 in the FedEx ATP Rankings. The 25-year-old is now 26-12 in 2021, putting him fourth on this year's match wins leaderboard according to Infosys ATP Stats.

Also moving on was two-time tournament champion Feliciano Lopez, who overpowered qualifier Illya Marchenko 6-1, 7-6(6) behind 12 aces. The 39-year-old Spaniard lifted both the singles and double (w/Andy Murray) trophies here two years ago. 

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