Tsitsipas Passes Nardi Test In Astana

Greek edges #NextGenATP Italian to reach quarter-finals at ATP 500 event

Stefanos Tsitsipas held firm to see off the challenge of #NextGenATP Italian Luca Nardi on Wednesday in a high-quality second-round battle at the Astana Open.

The third seed was solid throughout a hard-fought clash at the ATP 500 event in Kazakhstan but found it hard to shake off his younger opponent en route to his 7-6(2), 7-6(3) victory. The Greek needed to be at his best behind serve in the face of a highly promising performance from 19-year-old Nardi, who was playing just his fifth tour-level main-draw match, but Tsitsipas ultimately prevailed by staying more consistent at key moments en route to a one-hour, 45-minute win.

“He’s a player that can play very well in the future," said Tsitsipas after the match. "I was impressed by his level, he was able to maintain that throughout the entire match. There weren’t any holes. I believe today he was able to sustain that level from the beginning to end, and that was extremely impressive.

"I was trying to do my best, I was trying to switch it up as much as I can, but it wasn’t as easy as I had it planned in my head. He made it difficult today.”

Although Nardi carved out the only two break points of the match, Tsitsipas won 84 per cent (41/49) of points behind his first serve on the way to his 12th consecutive tour-level win against Italian opponents. With the victory, the World No. 6 advanced to his 12th tour-level quarter-final of 2022, where he will face seventh seed Hubert Hurkacz or home favourite Alexander Bublik.

Tsitsipas’ wins in Astana this week against home favourite Mikhail Kukushkin and Nardi have improved the Greek’s record for the season to 51-18. The Greek, who has already qualified for November’s Nitto ATP Finals in Turin, is chasing his first hard-court crown since his Marseille triumph in 2020.

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Andrey Rublev enjoyed a more comfortable route to the quarter-finals on Wednesday as he eased to a 6-3, 6-2 triumph against Zhang Zhizhen.

Zhang, who is No. 108 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings, had an opportunity to surge into the Top 100 in the live standings with a win, but was unable to resist the powerful return game of Rublev in the pair’s first tour-level meeting. The fifth-seeded Rublev was clinical in converting three from four break point chances to wrap a 59-minute win and improve his record on indoor hard courts in 2022 to 9-1.

Rublev will meet Adrian Mannarino in the quarter-finals, after the Frenchman backed up his first-round win against Stan Wawrinka with another impressive display of clean hitting against David Goffin. The Winston-Salem champion rallied to a 3-6, 6-1, 7-5 victory against lucky loser Goffin to reach his seventh tour-level quarter-final of the season.

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