Tsitsipas Survives Monfils Test In Shanghai
Former finalist Bautista Agut, Querrey advance to second round
Stefanos Tsitsipas, who last week qualified for the Next Gen ATP Finals in November, lived to fight another day on Monday when the 10th-seeded #NextGenATP star worked his way past France’s Gael Monfils at the Rolex Shanghai Masters. The 20-year-old Greek triumphed 7-6(4), 4-6, 6-4 in two hours and 22 minutes for a second-round meeting against Russia’s Karen Khachanov.
“It was a weird game, lots of service breaks [and] many long rallies in the match,” said Tsitsipas. “Gael has a rhythm that's not very comfortable when you're on the other side of the net. You never know what to expect. Sometimes the ball comes slower, sometimes the ball comes faster. So it confuses you. There are not many players that play this way.
“It was very, very hard, because he was serving pretty well. My serve was all right. I managed to open the court well with my serve, take the forehands and try to come to the net. But I managed to stay patient. I got broken when serving for the match in the third set. I remained calm and focused and then went back in the next game and broke him, which I believe is a big strength from my side. It shows good character.”
Tsitsipas saved three set points on serve at 5-6 in the first set, prior to winning the first six points of the tie-break, and later broke Monfils in the eighth game of the decider in their first FedEx ATP Head2Head clash. Former World No. 6 Monfils responded immediately to get back to 4-5, but then dropped to 15/40 and served his fifth double fault of the match to hand Tsitsipas his 34th victory of the season (34-24).
“I have improved a lot since last year physically, mentally,” said Tsitsipas. “My game has changed. I am more aggressive now. I'm actually stronger. I feel stronger. My body has changed since last year. I have [now played] lots of matches in the ATP main draws, lots of wins which gave me confidence. I believe in myself a little bit more.”
Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut, the 2016 finalist (l. to Murray), knocked out #NextGenATP Andrey Rublev of Russia 6-3, 6-4 to improve to a 29-17 record on the season, which includes the ASB Classic (d. Del Potro) and the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships (d. Pouille). Bautista Agut will next face American qualifier Mackenzie McDonald, a 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 victor over Canadian No. 14 seed Milos Raonic. Rublev is currently in seventh position in the ATP Race To Milan for a spot at the Next Gen ATP Finals in November.
Former World No. 11 Sam Querrey struck 14 aces and lost five of his first-service points (34/39) for a 66-minute victory over ninth-seeded Argentine Diego Schwartzman, who had won their past two matches. Querrey now faces fellow American Taylor Fritz, who was also impressive on serve – with 14 aces and 40 of 48 first-service points won – in a 6-3, 7-6(3) win over the experienced Dutchman Robin Haase in 81 minutes. Fritz, in sixth position in the #NextGenATP battle for a Milan spot, reached the BNP Paribas Open fourth round (l. to Coric) in March.
Elsewhere, Australia’s Matthew Ebden defeated fifth-placed #NextGenATP Frances Tiafoe 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 in one hour and 50 minutes and will now challenge sixth-seeded Austrian Dominic Thiem, who is a contender for a spot at the Nitto ATP Finals in November.