The first day of the new ATP season at the Aircel Chennai Open kicked off. The 2016 runner-up Borna Coric was the first seed to be eliminated in India as he was beaten by fellow rising star and qualifier Hyeon Chung of Korea in straight sets. Elsewhere Steve Darcis, Dudi Sela, Daniil Medvedev and qualifier Jozef Kovalik all won to progress to the second round.
Steve Darcis records first win of the season
Belgium's Steve Darcis kicked off his season with a comfortable 6-2, 6-3 win over Nikola Mektic. Darcis ran away to a 4-0 lead before the Croat registered his name on the scoreboard. The world number 86 looked untroubled during the first set and after only 23 minutes, he clinched the set 6-2. Steve Darcis continued in the same vein during the second set breaking his opponent in just the third game before negotiating his way to match point.
In just under an hour, Darcis clinched a straight sets victory. The Belgique broke serve on four occasions while Mektic failed to create even a sniff. The 32-year-old looked strong on serve winning 20 of 25 points on first serve and 12 of 14 points on his second serve with the Croat winning just 50% of points on first and second serve.
Sela advances to the second round
In just the third game, Sela broke his opponent and then just two games later he secured a double break going 4-1 up. With Sela serving for the set, Damir Dzumhur saved a set point before squandering three break point chances to get back into the match. The Israeli then grabbed a second set point before winning the first set 6-2. In the first game of the second set, Sela was forced to save his first break point of the set.
He continued to cause all sorts of trouble to the Bosnian, going on to break him twice in as many games, to go 6-2 4-1 up. The seventh game saw Sela with a match point against serve. Dzumhur saved the match point and held serve for just the second time in this set. The world number 77 had two break point chances to get back into the match, however, Sela rode the wave and gained victory to advance to the second round.
Daniil Medvedev through in straights
Russian Daniil Medvedev started the match strongly, breaking his opponent in the third game with his first chance. The Russian then broke once more in the fifth game but Thiago Monteiro got one of the breaks back in the very next game after taking his opponent to deuce five times. Now serving to stay in the opening set, Monteiro was forced to save four break/set points but couldn't ride the constant wave of pressure as Medvedev broke the Brazilian to take a one set lead.
The Russian was barely faced with a challenge in the second set but did save a break point in the first game of the set before having two break points of his own saved in the next game. Medvedev got the set's only break in the fourth set as he raced away to a 4-1 lead. In the seventh game, he saved two break points but continued to perform to high standards as he booked a place in the second round just a game later.
Qualifier Jozef Kovalik wins in three sets
In the opening two games, both players had broken one another. But throughout the set, it was Kovalik who was put under pressure, saving three break points before being taken to a tiebreak, which was won by the Portuguese Elias 6-7(5). The second set was much tighter and the Slovakian got the only break of the set as he broke on his third opportunity in the fifth game. From then on in he stayed infront and successfully served to draw level at one set apiece, 6-4. The qualifier then ran away with the match in the third set, breaking Gastao Elias in the first and seventh game as he won the set 6-2 and advanced to the second round in India.
Hyeon Chung upsets the sixth seed Borna Coric
Borna Coric was the only seed to play on the first day as he took on fellow rising star Hyeon Chung, who came through qualification. He initially lost serve in the very first game but managed to regain the break to stay in touch with Chung who started off bright. Both were playing high-quality tennis and were forced to save break points with the set at 2-2. The Korean found the breakthrough in the fifth game, breaking the highly rated 19-year-old before consolidating to take a 4-2 lead.
The 20-year-old was holding serve pretty impressively and did so to give Coric the chance of serving to stay alive in the opener. Chung raised his game and after a long service game, he earned his first set point. The Croatian denied the Korean but lost the first set via an unforced error. The second set got more and more open with both players getting plenty of chances to break. However, it was only until the ninth game did Coric get the first break. Chung did break back a game later then ran away to a love-40 lead and broke the world number 48 to cause an upset and dump the six seed out.