Rublev Records 20th Win Of Year On Rome Debut
Russian continues run of form at Foro Italico
Ninth seed Andrey Rublev made a winning start on his Internazionali BNL d'Italia debut on Tuesday with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over qualifier Facundo Bagnis in one hour and 38 minutes. He now plays Hubert Hurkacz in the Rome second round.
Rublev, who hit 25 winners for his 20th match win of the season (20-5), took a 3-0 lead in the first set and proved to be too strong in baseline rallies. He broke Bagnis at 3-3 in the second set and finished with a drop shot winner.
Last week, 22-year-old Rublev advanced to his second US Open quarter-final (also 2017), losing to Daniil Medvedev. Prior to the suspension of the ATP Tour, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Rublev had won two ATP Tour titles this year at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open (d. Moutet) and at the Adelaide International (d. Harris).
World No. 1 and four-time former champion Novak Djokovic will take on Salvatore Caruso, after the Italian wild card saved one match point to scrape past American qualifier Tennys Sandgren 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(4). Caruso saved one match point at 4-5 in the deciding set.
Milos Raonic, the 13th seed, powered past Frenchman Adrian Mannarino 7-6(3), 6-2 in a match that was interrupted by rain on multiple occasions. The Canadian hit 12 aces and won 29 of his 32 first-serve points to triumph after two hours and seven minutes.
Raonic will next face 2019 Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters finalist Dusan Lajovic, who eliminated 2019 Next Gen ATP Finals competitor Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 6-4, 6-4 in one hour and 43 minutes.
Elsewhere, John Millman recovered from 2-4 down in the second set to overcome lucky loser Joao Sousa 7-5, 7-6(2) in two hours and four minutes. He now challenges eighth seed Diego Schwartzman. Italian qualifier Marco Cecchinato rallied past Briton Kyle Edmund 3-6, 7-6(7), 6-2, earning a second-round match against Serbian Filip Krajinovic.