Nick Kyrgios bounced back from an early exit in Montreal to charge purposefully into the second round of the Cincinnati Masters, however Marin Cilic and Felix Auger-Aliassime fell at the first hurdle.
The Australian, who won the Citi Open title in Washington at the beginning of the month, faced Italy’s Lorenzo Sonego and put in a solid performance on serve to deliver his 7-5 6-4 victory.
Prior to stepping onto court for his own match, Kyrgios was in the stands supporting Andy Murray as the Scot returned to a singles court for the first time since January.
When the time came for his match, the Australian played with his trademark style, winning 94 per cent of points on his first serve and engaging the crowd throughout the one hour and 19-minute match.
“I just stayed tough. I kept holding my serve and just waiting till he kind of dropped his level a little bit. That’s all it was. That’s all that was in it,” Kyrgios commented post-match.
The 24-year-old has now set up a showdown against Karen Khachanov, a semi-finalist in Montreal last week, and has his opening round doubles match with his partner Stefanos Tsitsipas on Tuesday.
Cilic, who the 14th seed in Cincinnati, became the tournament’s first notable casualty after a 6-4 7-6 (8-6) loss to Radu Albot.
The Croatian was one of five former champions that started in the 2019 field but wasn’t able to convert any of the six set points that he created in the second set to put the match into a decider.
Albot is at a career-high of 39 in the world and now faces either Laslo Djere or Diego Schwartzman in the second round.
Meanwhile, Auger–Aliassime also found himself on the wrong end of a result when he encountered Miomir Kecmanovic on Monday.
Auger-Aliassime, who turned 19 last week, has just broken into the top 30 in the world but didn’t hit the right notes in Cincinnati and fell 6-3 6-3.
Kecmanovic put in a commanding performance on serve, losing just three first-serve points during his 64 minutes on court, and his reward for is a clash with Alexander Zverev in the next round.
Elsewhere in the draw, the returning Murray lost his first competitive singles match since his hip resurfacing surgery in January. Richard Gasquet prevailed over the Scot 6-4 6-4 in an hour and 36 minutes.
Murray also confirmed after that he won’t play singles at the forthcoming US Open and instead will focus on the mixed and men’s doubles.
Sam Querrey set up a second-round meeting with Novak Djokovic after a winning the battle of the tie-breaks against Pierre-Hugues Herbert 7-6 (7-2) 7-6 (7-1) and there was a notable victory for the Japanese qualifier Yoshihito Nishioka who prevailed over Jordan Thompson 6-4 6-1.
Nishioka will come face to face with the tournament’s sixth seed in the next round, fellow countryman Kei Nishikori, and a positive result would be his first-ever win over a Top 10 opponent.
Cincinnati Masters – Tuesday’s Order of Play on Centre Court
Tuesday’s order of play commences with Grigor Dimitrov facing-off against Stan Wawrinka yet again in the first round, before Reilly Opelka and Borna Coric finish their first round match.
Roger Federer will commence the evening session at 7pm local time (00:00 BST) against the wildcard Juan Ignacio Londero with Djokovic also starting his campaign on Centre Court.
Kyle Edmund will also be taking to court in singles action against the in-form Daniil Medvedev.
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