Bautista Agut Maintains London Hopes In Beijing
Fifth-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut kicked off singles play at the China Open with a straightforward 6-1, 6-3 victory over Chinese wild card Ze Zhang in 61 minutes.
The Spaniard, ranked No. 15 in the Emirates ATP Race To London, clung to his hopes of qualifying for the Nitto ATP Finals by converting four of five break opportunities, while saving the only two he faced on his own serve.
Both of Zhang’s break points came at 2-3 in the second set, creating a chance to get back on serve. But Bautista Agut managed to hold, and then got through a deuce game the next time he served to advance to the second round for the third time in three appearances in Beijing.
While Bautista Agut’s hopes in the Race stayed alive, qualifier Steve Darcis’ 6-0, 6-4 win over Pablo Carreno Busta temporarily halted the Spanish fourth seed’s London bid.
Carreno Busta showed grit, saving three match points to break back and turn a 0-6, 2-5 deficit into a competitive set on-serve at 4-5. But after saving one more match point, the Belgian finally capitalised with a backhand winner to seal his victory.
Darcis will face another qualifier in Dusan Lajovic, who bounced back from a second-set loss to oust Fernando Verdasco, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3.
Fabio Fognini defeated Robin Haase, 7-6(4), 6-2 to earn a match-up with either World No. 4 Alexander Zverev or Kyle Edmund, while Aljaz Bedene set up a clash with Bautista Agut with a 6-4, 6-2 win against qualifier Marcel Granollers.
Top Seed Earns 200th Victory
While on paper it was only a first-round win for John Peers and Henri Kontinen, the duo’s 6-3, 7-5 victory over Tomas Berdych and Nenad Zimonjic was the 200th tour-level triumph of Peers’ career.
"It's a great honour to be able to play so many matches on the ATP tour," Peers told ATPWorldTour.com. "It was always a dream to be able to play on it and to be able to do this for several years is so much fun. I hope I can continue to enjoy the journey and continue to live out my dream job."
The Australian-Finnish pairing broke serve four times in the match to help Peers reach the milestone, earning the win in their first match since advancing to the US Open semi-finals.
Top singles players also got into the doubles act Monday, with John Isner and Jack Sock upsetting the fourth-seeded Wimbledon finalists, Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic, 7-6(3), 7-6(6).
Juan Martin del Potro partnered compatriot Leonardo Mayer to a 6-4, 3-6, 10-7 win over qualifiers Wesley Koolhof and Artem Sitak.