Tsitsipas Passes Ramos-Vinolas Test In Basel
“I knew it was going to be a difficult battle out there. He fought hard and gave me a hard time out there, but I’m satisfied and happy that this match didn’t go longer or to three sets," Tsitsipas said. "The players that make it into [ATP 500] tournaments are all playing well, so I expect every match to be difficult. You have to fight for everything."
Tsitsipas has won eight of his past 10 matches. The 21-year-old finished runner-up in Beijing (l. to Thiem) and defeated World No. 1 Novak Djokovic en route to a semi-final finish at the Rolex Shanghai Masters. Those two results helped clinch his maiden appearance at the season-ending Nitto ATP Finals, held at The O2 in London from 10-17 November. Tsitsipas will play Spaniard Pablo Andujar or Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis in the second round.
”I came into the match feeling very relaxed. I went out there to enjoy my game and experiment with a few different things,” Tsitsipas said. “I got some good support from the fans today. There were some Greek flags and people screaming my name, so that was very pleasing."
The #NextGenATP champion controlled most of the baseline rallies early on in their centre court clash, forcing Ramos-Vinolas to step out of his comfort zone and try to win points at the net. Tsitsipas earned the lone break of the opening set at 3-2 and held his slight advantage to take the early lead.
It appeared that the third seed would coast after he scored another break to lead 3-2 in the second set, but Ramos-Vinolas dug deep and added more pace to his shots. He levelled the match in the next game and continued to prove his resilience by saving two match points at 4/6 in the tie-break. But Tsitsipas hung tough, showing impressive defense at 6/6 to goad Ramos-Vinolas into a forehand error before prevailing in one hour and 34 minutes.
American Reilly Opelka came out on top in a 7-6(5), 7-6(10) serving duel with Chilean Cristian Garin. There were no breaks in the match, but Opelka saved set points at 6/7 and 8/9 in the second-set tie-break before converting on his fourth match point. He finished the day with 27 aces and 98 per cent (51/52) of first-serve points won to even his FedEx ATP Head2Head series with Garin at 1-1. Opelka awaits sixth-seeded Belgian David Goffin or Croatian Marin Cilic in the second round.