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Juan Monaco won 73 per cent of his second-serve return points during his first-round match in Chengdu.

Monaco, Schwartzman Win Chengdu Openers

Monaco to meet Spaniard next

Former World No. 10 Juan Monaco required 66 minutes to beat qualifier Hiroki Moriya 6-1, 6-2 on Monday at the Chengdu Open. Monaco will next face fourth seed Feliciano Lopez, whom he beat in the Houston semi-finals en route to his ninth ATP World Tour title (d. Sock) in April.

Diego Schwartzman, who lifted his first ATP World Tour trophy in Istanbul (d. Dimitrov) earlier this year, knocked out Rajeev Ram 6-4, 7-5 in 87 minutes. He awaits the winner of eighth seed Paolo Lorenzi or John Millman. “The first match is always tough for the players,” said Schwartzman. “I feel great, so it’s good to win… I try to improve every week.”

In doubles, fourth seeds Pablo Carreno Busta and Mariusz Fyrstenberg defeated wild card Yan Bai and Di Wu 6-2, 6-7(2), 10-6 in 89 minutes, while Nicholas Monroe and Artem Sitak lost just seven of their first service points in a 6-3, 1-6, 10-4 victory over Federico Delbonis and Lorenzi in 63 minutes.

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DAY 2 PREVIEW: Di Wu etched his name in the record books on 31 January when he upset top seed and current World No. 54 Kyle Edmund in Maui, USA to become the first ATP Challenger Tour singles champion from China. The Chinese No. 2 hopes to break through again at the Chengdu Open on Tuesday when he meets Konstantin Kravchuk. Wu is 0-13 lifetime in ATP World Tour and Grand Slam main draw matches, coming closest to his first victory when he held a match point against Marin Cilic at the 2015 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament in Shanghai. All 17 of Wu’s tour-level wins have come as a member of China’s Davis Cup team.

Also in first-round action is Czech qualifier Radek Stepanek, who turns 38 on 27 November. By defeating Japanese players Takuto Niki and Go Soeda over the weekend, Stepanek qualified for the eighth time on tour in 2016, tying him for the lead with Shenzhen Open qualifier Mischa Zverev. Stepanek won his main draw opener at five of the previous seven tournaments in which he qualified. His opponent Tuesday is Yen-Hsun Lu, who extended his own record with his 23rd and 24th Challenger titles at grass-court events in June.

Among the other matches scheduled for Stadium Court is the first meeting between World No. 36 Marcos Baghdatis and World No. 39 Carreno Busta. Both are coming off strong showings at the US Open, where Baghdatis reached the fourth round of a major for the first time since 2009. As for Carreno Busta, the 2013 ATP World Tour Most Improved Player of the Year is again a contender for the award. He’s reached the first seven tour-level finals of his career in 2016 (3 singles, 4 doubles), highlighted by the Winston-Salem Open singles title and a US Open runner-up finish with countryman Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in doubles.

Taking to the outer courts are No. 5 seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas, Lorenzi and 17-year-old wild card Casper Ruud. Ramos-Vinolas (Bastad) and Lorenzi (Kitzbuhel) won the first tour-level titles of their respective careers in July, while Ruud is making his ATP World Tour debut after winning the Seville, ESP Challenger title on 10 September. In doubles, No. 1 seeds Raven Klaasen and Rajeev Ram continue their quest for qualification at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals against Yecong He and Fajing Sun.

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