© Peter Staples/ATP Tour

Argentina's Maximo Gonzalez attempts to block Karen Khachanov's overhead smash as the Russian and Andrey Rublev prevail over Gonzalez and Simone Bolelli in the first round in Cincinnati.

Russians Bounce Back From the Brink In Cincinnati

Khachanov/Rublev to face second seeds for quarter-final berth

Russians Karen Khachanov and Andrey Rublev saved a match point to deny Simone Bolelli and Maximo Gonzalez in the opening round of the Western & Southern Open on Sunday. The Tokyo Olympics doubles teammates rallied from a set down to see off the Italian-Argentine pairing 6-7(6), 6-3, 11-9 in one hour and 42 minutes.

Khachanov and Rublev reached ATP Masters 1000 finals in 2018 in Miami and 2019 in Paris and improved on their opening-round exit in Cincinnati last year. They boosted their record together this season to 6-8 and could win consecutive matches together for the first time in 2021 should they find a way past second seeds Horacio Zeballos and Marcel Granollers.

Earlier, the unseeded Alex de Minaur and Cameron Norrie proved too strong for Kazakhstan’s Alexander Bublik and Chilean Cristian Garin. The Australian-British duo prevailed 6-2, 6-2 and await the winner of sixth seeds John Peers and Filip Polasek and Matwe Middelkoop and Luke Saville.