The Russian Andrey Rublev, first seed, made his debut in the second round of the San Diego Open and won this Wednesday easy 6-2, 6-1 victory against young local Brandon Nakashima, 83 in the world rankings.
Rublev, 23, fifth in the world rankings, broke at the start of each set and headed for a comfortable victory that keeps it as a great favorite by taking the title.
His next rival will be Argentine Diego Schwartzman, sixth-seeded, who had a more difficult passage to the second round after needing to come back from a set against to beat South African Lloyd Harris 4-6, 6-3 and 6-2., number 32 in the world, which he has won both times they have faced.
The duel between Rublev and Schwartzman, 29, fifteenth in the world rankings, will be the third with a distribution of triumph and defeat in the previous two.
But Rublev beat Schwartzman last week during Laver Cup competition (4-6, 6-3 and 11-9) when the Teams of Europe and the Rest of the World met, in Boston.
Rublev, who had just helped the European team win the Laver Cup exhibition in Boston, used big forehand shots. to take control of the points from the baseline.
“From the beginning, I thought it had to be me who was going to dominate. I need to try to take my right and try to dictate,” Rublev stated, who has already played four Grand Slam quarterfinals.
Rublev improved to 45-15 in 2021. He had a first-round break in the hard court tournament that was a late addition to the ATP schedule to make up for the cancellation of the Asian swing from the tour due to the coronavirus pandemic.
This was the first match against a Top 20 opponent for Nakashima, a 20-year-old. from San Diego, where he maintains his residence.
The Polish Hubert Hurkacz, fifth seed, and the British Dan Evans, eighth, were also among those who achieved the victory during the morning session.
Hurkacz, who won singles and doubles titles in Metz, France, last week, defeated Australian qualifier Alex Bolt 7-6 (2), 6-1, and Evans beat two-time Grand Slam finalist, South African Kevin Anderson 7-6 (11) and 7-5.
In Evans’ victory, the server won 22 points in a row from 3 to 6 in the first set. Then, in the tiebreaker, it was Anderson who went ahead and held the set points at 6-5 and 7-6, but failed to convert.
Anderson, runner-up to Spain’s Rafael Nadal at the 2017 US Open and Serbian Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon in 2018, had a third chance to close out the set. when he had an 11-10 lead, but again fell short. Finally, Evans secured the win on his fourth set point.
“A bit lucky to go through that,” Evans admitted. “Kevin (Anderson) could have won perfectly.”
Evans, who is ranked 22nd in his career rankings, now faces fellow 28th-ranked fellow Cam Norrie.
“I know him pretty well; he knows me,” Evans commented., who thought there would be talks about the upcoming meeting in a texting group that he and Norrie are a part of.
They have met once before on the tour with Norrie as the winner versus Evans, in four sets, in the first round of the Australian Open, last February.