It was an action-packed Tuesday at the Irving Tennis Classic with the final qualifying round finishing and main draw action under way. There were five first round singles matches played, highlighted by a superb finale on Championship Court with Andrey Rublev taking out Ryan Harrison in a third set tiebreak.
Rublev Needs Eleven Match Points to Secure Victory
Russian Andrey Rublev concluded the opening day of main draw play with an epic 6-7 (8), 6-4, 7-6 (6) over American Ryan Harrison. Rublev needed eleven match points to finally secure the win. The opening set was electric from both with neither player being broken. Harrison saved two of two break points, while Rublev did not face one. In the second set, the American had major troubles in serve. Harrison would face seven break points as he won just 19 of 39 points on serve, with Rublev breaking him twice as he evened the match at one set each.
The final set saw both men stumble as each was broken three times. Both Rublev and Harrison had major issues getting their first serves in, with the Russian landing just 40 percent of his first serves and Harrison getting in 54 percent. The tiebreak would work back and forth, finding everything knotted at 6-6 on the second changeover. That is where Rublev would take control to score the knockout punch with the final two points to score his 8th straight win on the Challenger tour.
Tursunov Takes Down Young in Straight Sets
One of the matches that looked to be a potential barn burner, turned into a rout on Championship Court. Russian Dmitry Tursunov romped past Donald Young 6-1, 6-1 to secure a spot in the second round. The opening set was tense with both players winning the majority of the points off their first serves. It was Young who was struggling to land those first serves though as he put just 38 percent in play. That left Tursunov with 16 chances off the lefty's second serve, where the Russian won seven key points. Tursunov didn't mess around with his service games, winning 15 of 18 points on his first serve and never facing a break point in the opening set.
Any chance for a turn around in the second flew away rather quickly for Young. He was still landing under 50 percent of his first serves in play, again allowing Tursunov ample opportunity to pounce on his second serve. The Russian would take half of the 20 points played on the American's serve in the set, with seven of those coming off Young's second. That allowed Tursunov to secure a pair or breaks, the first putting him up 3-1, as he cruised to the finish line and round two.
More First Round Action
In an all-American battle, Jared Donaldson got the better of his 2015 ITC finalist Tim Smyczek 7-5, 6-4 in one hour and 23 minutes to reach the second round. The 19-year-old converted on two of five break point opportunities, while saving both break chances that he faced. Denis Istomin got past John-Patrick Smith 6-2, 7-5 with consistent play. The 28-year-old saved all four break points that he faced and struck five aces on his way to the second round. Meanwhile, Spaniard Marcel Granollers defeated world number 83 Santiago Giraldo 7-5, 3-1 (Retired) with the Colombian retiring in the second set. It was a very long up and down first set with five combined breaks of serve from both players. Granollers was able to stay focused until Giraldo had to call it quits due to a shoulder injury.
Two main draw doubles matches took place on Tuesday with the English duo of Colin Fleming and Neal Skupski getting past German pair Philipp Petzschner and Mischa Zverev 7-6 (7), 6-2. The first set was an extremely tight affair with Fleming and Skupski coming up big in the tight moment. They rode the momentum to get the job done efficiently in the second set. It is a rare partnership for Skupski, as he usually plays with his brother Ken Skupski. In the other doubles match of the day, Marco Cecchinato and Inigo Cervantes got the job done over Purav Raja and Ruan Roelofse 6-4, 6-3 in fairly routine fashion. The winning duo saved all five break points faced on the day and won 81 percent of their first serve points.
The final round of qualifying was completed on Tuesday as four players gained coveted spots in the main draw. Fifth seeded 20-year- old Englishman Cameron Norrie upset top seeded Ecuadorian Giovanni Lapentti 6-3, 6-4 in one hour and 15 minutes. The world number 234 was unable to get anything going, as Norrie out played him. He gets a very tough first round draw with 2nd seed Gilles Muller. Jason Jung defeated doubles specialist Michael Venus 7-5, 7-6 (3) to capture another main draw spot. Venus took a break from playing doubles, where he has won three ATP World Tour titles this year.
Jung will play lucky loser Lapentti in the first round. Elsewhere, Petzschner defeated American Ryan Haviland 6-4, 6-3. He goes on to face eighth seed Illya Marchenko in the first round. Finally, 24-year-old German Jakob Sude defeated American Nathaniel Lammons 6-3, 5-7, 6-2 in one hour and 47 minutes. It only gets tougher for him, as he will face off against third seed Lukas Rosol in the first round.
Action starts early on Court 7 with Ivan Dodig set to battle Jozef Kovalik. Defending champion Aljaz Bedene will follow against Rogerio Dutra Silva. The first match on Championship Court could be the best with Frances Tiafoe taking on Benjamin Becker.