Norrie Survives Rune Scare In Cincinnati
In a hard-fought clash, the Briton showcased a mixture of grit and quality as soaked up Rune's powerful groundstrokes, while he penetrated the 19-year-old's defences with his aggressive forehand to triumph 7-6(5), 4-6, 6-4 after two hours and 34 minutes in Cincinnati.
Norrie, who is making his third appearance at the ATP Masters 1000 event, now leads the 19-year-old 2-0 in their ATP Head2Head series, having defeated the World No. 29 en route to his fourth tour-level title in Lyon in May. The 26-year-old will face former World No. 3 Stan Wawrinka or countryman Andy Murray in a standout second-round match.
The ninth seed will be aiming for a deep run in Ohio as he looks to strengthen his chances of qualifying for the Nitto ATP Finals in November. Norrie is currently 14th in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin, but could climb quickly with strong results at the hard-court event.
Rune, who advanced to the second round in Montreal last week, was making his debut in Cincinnati. The Dane has enjoyed a breakthrough season, highlighted by his first tour-level title in Munich. The 19-year-old is currently fourth in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Milan as he looks to qualify for the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals for a second consecutive year.
In other action, Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut rallied past Argentine Francisco Cerundolo 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-2 in two hours and 42 minutes. The World No. 19, who reached the semi-finals at the event in 2020, will next play American qualifier Marcos Giron or Belgian qualifier David Goffin.
Diego Schwartzman showed his fighting qualities to defeat Slovakian Alex Molcan 5-7, 6-4, 6-2. The Argentine now leads the 24-year-old 2-0 in their ATP Head2Head series and will next face Aslan Karatsev after the World No. 38 eliminated #NextGenATP American Brandon Nakashima 7-5, 7-5 in one hour and 38 minutes.