The China Open got underway on Monday with a handful of matches featuring three of the eight seeds. Everything was fairly straightforward as the favourites advanced to the second round without too much trouble. Here’s what happened on day one in Beijing.
Fifth seed David Ferrer kicked off the action in Beijing with a straight-sets win over clay court specialist Pablo Cuevas. Despite the somewhat one-sided scoreline, there was very little between the two men from start to finish, as there was only one break point in the entire match. Lucky for Ferrer, it came as Cuevas was serving to stay in the first set at 4-5 and the fifth seed converted to take the opener. It was more of the same in the second as there were no breaks of serve. In the tiebreak, the Spaniard’s consistency won out, as he grabbed an early minibreak and hung on, taking the tiebreak 7-3 and the match 6-4, 7-6(3).
Sixth seed Lucas Pouille made what was supposed to be a tricky opening round match look easy as he blew out wildcard Yen Hsun-Lu 6-1, 6-2 to get his campaign underway. The Race to London hopeful was under pressure early, saving a break point in the opening game, but did not waste time in turning the set around, breaking in the fourth game and reeling off five straight games, including a second break, to take the opener in 23 minutes. It was more of the same in the second set, as the Frenchman broke to start the set and raced to a 5-1 lead, eventually wrapping up the straight sets win in under an hour.
The closest match of the day saw Roberto Bautista Agut narrowly edge John Millman in a tight three-setter. The Spaniard, who is in desperate need of a strong run this week to keep his Race to London hopes alive, got off to a strong start, grabbing an early break in the third game. It did not last, however, as he was forced to save a break point in the following game before Millman eventually levelled at 3-3. But a late break went the way of Bautista Agut to give the Spaniard the opening set.
The Spaniard seemed well on his way to victory when he broke early in the second set, but the Australian qualifier won five straight games from 1-3 down to send the match to a decider. A wild third set saw both players hold a bunch of break points, but Bautista Agut raced ahead 5-1 and Millman could not come back this time, only recovering one break and failing to convert his break point in the final game as the Spaniard hung on for the 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 victory.
In other action, Kyle Edmund dispatched Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in straight sets. The British qualifier was strong on serve, saving all four break points he faced while scoring three breaks of his own, one in the first set, two in the second, on his way to a 6-3, 6-2 victory.