Rublev Starts Hamburg Campaign; Three Qualifiers Advance
Former champion Simon beaten in opener
Last year's finalist Andrey Rublev started his Hamburg European Open campaign with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over American qualifier Tennys Sandgren on Monday. The fifth-seeded Russian lost just three of his first-service points (26/29) in the 69-minute encounter.
"It was the best match I've played on clay this season," said Rublev, who lost to Nikoloz Basilashvili in the 2019 Hamburg final. "Today, I was feeling good and I am really happy with my performance as Tennys is such a good player. When I saw I was going to play him, I knew it was going to be a really tough match. I was really preparing mentally. In the end, I was able to control the match. I like the atmosphere here, I enjoy being back and I'm grateful to have won my first-round match."
Rublev will now face another qualifier, Tommy Paul, who withstood 14 aces from Kevin Anderson to win 6-4, 0-6, 6-4 in one hour and 56 minutes. Anderson won 83 per cent of his first-service points (35/42), but Paul decisively broke the South African in the third game of the decider. Paul's coach, Brad Stine, recently coached Anderson, while Anderson is currently coached by Diego Moyano, who used to work with Paul.
Qualifier Jiri Vesely recorded his first win in his third ATP Head2Head meeting against lucky loser Gilles Simon, the 2011 champion, 7-5, 6-2 and now plays top seed Daniil Medvedev or Ugo Humbert in the second round.
Qualifier Pablo Cuevas, the 2016 runner-up, who beat Simon 6-4, 7-6(2) in the final round of qualifying at the ATP 500 event, defeated Taylor Fritz, making his Hamburg debut, 6-4, 6-2 in 80 minutes. He awaits the winner of second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas or Daniel Evans.
Albot/Qureshi Edge Into Doubles Quarter-finals
Qualifiers Radu Albot and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi bounced back from a first-set bagel to overcome Jamie Murray and Neal Skupski, the recent Western & Southern Open finalists, 0-6, 7-5, 10-8 in the first round.