ATP Buenos Aires: Strong Start for Home Favorites
Leonardo Mayer/Photo: Argentina Open

The home side got off to a strong start in Buenos Aires on day one at the Argentina Open, as a pair of local favorites advanced. Meanwhile, the first seed to take to the court found himself on the wrong end of a great performance by one of those home hopes.

Almagro Opens Tournament With Win

2011 Champion Nicolas Almagro got the action underway at the 2016 edition of the Argentina Open and was untroubled in his opening match. He dispatched of his Spanish countryman Albert Montanes 6-3, 6-3. The Spanish veteran was strong on serve firing eleven aces and winning 82 percent of his first serve points. He also saved all four break points he faced, while converting two in the first set. Almagro also scored the only break point opportunity for either player in the second set. It only took Almagro an hour and six minutes to advance to the second round.

Nicolas Almagro hits a backhand during his first round victory. Photo: Argentina Open
Nicolas Almagro hits a backhand during his first round victory. Photo: Argentina Open

Schwartzman Stuns Dolgopolov

The first home hope to take to the court was Diego Schwartzman, who was the massive underdog against the Dog himself, seventh seed Alexandr Dolgopolov. The Argentinian did a good job to stay with Dolgopolov in the opening set and it took a late break from the Ukrainian to grab the opening set. However, Schwartzman was not discouraged. He saved six break points in the second set, while converting his second break point opportunity to grab the lone break of the second set. It was enough to send the match to a decider.

In the final set, it was the home favorite who stepped up on serve. Despite losing more than half of his first serve points, Schwartzman was perfect on his second serve and did not allow a single break point in the final set. He broke Dolgopolov twice, including for the match, to clinch the 5-7, 6-4, 6-3 upset in just over two hours.

Other Action

The fans were treated to an all-Argentine clash next, which pitted Leonardo Mayer against Guido Pella. It was the lower ranked Pella who grabbed the early lead, breaking Mayer twice in the opening set to grab an early lead. However, Mayer was unfazed. He dominated Pella’s second serve and broke twice in the second set to send the match to a third set. In the final set, Mayer completely shut down Pella’s return game, saving both break points that he faced and winning 84 percent of his first serve points. He broke Pella twice to claim victory 2-6, 6-3, 6-3.

In other action, Santiago Giraldo of Colombia put on a returning clinic in his 6-1, 7-5 victory over Inigo Cervantes of Spain. The Colombian won 51 percent of Cervantes' serve points, reached break point 12 times and converted five of those opportunities in the hour and a half victory. The match also included Giraldo winning more than 50 percent of the points on Cervantes’ first serve.

First round action continues Tuesday with three more seeds in action and even more home-favored Argentinians.