If the Brisbane International is any indication of what’s to come this year, 2018 is going to be a wild season. First round action was completed in Brisbane on Tuesday with a few more surprises in store. Here’s what happened on day three down under.
One of the players entering 2018 with the highest expectations is 2017 Newcomer of the Year Denis Shapovalov. The Canadian teenager did not get off the start he wanted in the new year, dropping his first match of the season to rival Kyle Edmund in a nail-biting three-setter. Shapovalov dodged a bullet in the opening set, breaking the Brit as he served for it before claiming the tiebreak for the one-set lead.
But he failed to keep his momentum going, dropping the second set in another tiebreak before being broken in the opening game of the third. Edmund would hang on to claim a 6-7(5), 7-6(4), 6-4 victory in just over two and a half hours. Shapovalov dominated with his first serve, pounding 18 aces and winning 87 percent of his first serve points. Despite facing half as many break points as his opponent, the Canadian only saved one of three, while Edmund saved five of the six on his own serve.
NextGen Finals champion Hyeon Chung pulled an upset on day three, kicking off his season with a win over fifth seed Gilles Muller. The Korean young gun broke one the tour’s best servers twice in the opening set before claiming three of Muller’s service points in the second set tiebreak to wrap up the win in straight sets. The Luxembourger fired 19 aces past his young opponent and won 83 percent of his first serve points, but only managed 36 percent of his second serve points and failed to convert either of his break points. Chung will meet Edmund for a place in the quarterfinals.
Seventh seed Damir Dzumhur joined Muller and sixth seed Diego Schwartzman as seeded players to lose their first matches of the season, falling in three sets to Denis Istomin. After claiming a wild opening set that saw four breaks of serve in a tiebreak, the Bosnian failed to find a solution to Istomin, who broke twice in both the second and third sets to wrap up the upset. Istomin punished Dzumhur for missing his first serve, which he did 56 percent of the time, limiting the seventh seed to only 43 percent of his second serve points won. The Bosnian did little to help his cause, double-faulting six times. Istomin will play American young gun Jared Donaldson in the second round.
In other action, American qualifier Michael Mmoh, ranked 175th in the world caused a minor upset by taking out world number 68 Frederico Delbonis in straight sets. The home fans were given something to cheer for when wildcard John Millman fired eight aces and only lost three second serve points on his way to the second round with a straight-sets win over Canadian qualifier Peter Polansky.
In other news on Tuesday, second seed Andy Murray was forced to withdraw from the tournament due to a nagging hip injury. Second round action will get underway tomorrow, with Nick Kyrgios and Milos Raonic getting their 2018 campaigns underway.