ATP

Kyrgios, Norrie and Fritz advance through opening round of the Canadian Open

By Sports Desk August 09, 2022

Nick Kyrgios set up a mouth-watering second-round showdown against world number one Daniil Medvedev after defeating Argentina's Sebastian Baez 6-4 6-4 in his opening match of the Canadian Open on Tuesday.

The in-form Kyrgios is coming off his first ATP singles title since 2019 after winning the Washington Open this past week, where he also won the doubles partnered with Jack Sock. 

Against Baez, he served all six of the match's aces to make it through unscathed, and he will now play the top-ranked Russian – who Kyrgios has beaten twice – although he dropped their third meeting at the Australian Open this year.

Dating back to the start of his Wimbledon run, where Kyrgios made his first grand slam final, the Australian has now won 13 of his past 14 matches, with the only loss coming in the Wimbledon final to Novak Djokovic.

Earlier on, 11th seed Matteo Berrettini was the first upset of the day as he went down 6-3 6-2 against Spain's Pablo Carreno-Busta, while fellow Spaniard Pedro Martinez had less success, getting bounced by France's Gael Monfils 7-6 (7-4) 3-6 6-2.

America's Tommy Paul delivered a gut-punch to his neighbours in the Great White North by eliminating Canada's own Vasek Pospisil 6-4 6-4, and his Canadian compatriot Alexis Galarneau also struggled in his 6-4 7-5 loss to Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov.

Marin Cilic showed why he is the 13th seed with a strong 6-3 6-2 win in his all-Croatian battle against Borna Coric, and American Maxim Cressy had similar success against Russia's Aslan Karatsev 6-4 6-4.

In a battle of the French it was Adrian Mannarino prevailing 6-3 6-3 against Arthur Rinderknech, and a pair of Englishmen made their way through unscathed as Daniel Evans won a back-and-forth contest against Filip Krajinovic 6-2 1-6 6-0, while Jack Draper returned to his rain-interrupted fixture against Hugo Gaston to finish the job 6-2 6-3.

Alex de Minaur ensured it would be a grim day for the Canadian fans as he eliminated Denis Shapovalov 7-5 7-6 (7-4), before Holger Rune fought off the challenge of Fabio Fognini to emerge a 6-3 7-5 winner.

In the late session, Roberto Bautista-Agut defeated Marcos Giron 7-6 (7-5) 6-3, ninth seed Cameron Norrie needed just over an hour for his straight sets 6-4 6-4 win over Brandon Nakashima, and Andy Murray had no answer for Taylor Fritz as he went down 6-1 6-3.

Yoshihito Nishioka's strong form held up after his runner-up finish at the Washington Open, cruising past Benoit Paire 6-2 6-3, while 25-year-old Botic van de Zanschulp continued his rise up the rankings with a 6-1 7-5 victory over Miomir Kecmanovic.

12th seed Diego Schwartzman needed three sets to navigate the challenge of Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 1-6 6-3 6-4, and Albert Ramos-Vinolas got the better of Belgium's David Goffin 7-6 (7-2) 6-2.

In the final match of the night, world number 10 Hubert Hurkacz responded to adversity in the second set to pull out a 6-3 6-7 (4-7) 6-2 win against Finland's Emil Ruusuvuori.

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    Next on the list is Pete Sampras with 14 slams, which was itself a total that many once fancied would not be beaten for decades.

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    "He has an excellent game, an all-around game that I think will translate well onto all surfaces," Murray said.

    "He's not the biggest guy, but he can serve big. He's an unbelievable mover, great athlete. Has a lot of variety in his game. Takes the ball on a lot. That's something that you hope that he keeps.

    "I know from experience that it's a bit easier playing that way when you're sort of 18, 19, and there's not any scar tissue there. I hope that he maintains that style of play because it's exciting to watch."

    The prediction that Alcaraz can be an all-court player, and therefore succeed on grass as well as the hard and clay courts where he has already found success, bodes well for his prospects of stacking up slams.

    Murray might have faced Alcaraz in round three at the Miami Open this fortnight, but the veteran Briton, a three-time slam winner and former number one, lost his opener on Wednesday to Serbian Dusan Lajovic.

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    "I know a lot of people are expecting everyone to win 20-plus grand slams now, like that's sort of normal. I wouldn't predict that for anyone.

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