Powerful serving propelled Kazakhstan’s Alexander Bublik to a first-round win at the National Bank Open in Toronto and into a second-round matchup with top-seeded Daniil Medvedev of Russia.
Bublik produced a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Great Britain’s Daniel Evans.
Though Bublik put just 46 percent of his first serves in play, when managed to do so, he was nearly unbeatable, winning 86 percent of the points (24 of 28). In contrast, Evans had 50 percent rate of getting his first serves in play, and he won just 60 percent of those points.
Bublik faced just one break point, which he lost, converting three of his 10 break opportunities.
“Obviously winning in straight sets is great,” Bublik said. “I kept my nerve after I lost the first break. (I then) served better, maybe (got) a bit lucky in some points because Dan is a tricky player, he comes in so much. The key was to pass him in the right moment, and I guess I did it well.”
The tournament’s top 16 seeds received first-round byes.
South Africa’s Lloyd Harris will oppose second-seeded Rafael Nadal of Spain for the second week in a row after ousting Canada’s Brayden Schnur 6-3, 6-2. Last week, Harris stunned Nadal 6-4, 1-6, 6-4 in the second round at Washington, only to fall in his next match, a quarterfinal against Japan’s Kei Nishikori.
Nadal has won the Canadian event five times.
The day’s tightest match saw Italy’s Fabio Fognini edge Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff 6-7 (2), 6-2, 6-4 in a contest that lasted nearly 2 1/2 hours. Fognini overcame 11 double faults as he saved 10 of 13 break points.
Croatia’s Marin Cilic also posted a three-set win, topping Spain’s Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-2, 4-6, 6-3, and the United States’ Tommy Paul rallied past Canada’s Vasek Pospisil 6-7 (5), 6-2, 6-3.
Australian qualifier James Duckworth eliminated the United States’ Taylor Fritz 7-6 (2), 6-3, and France’s Ugo Humbert defeated Italy’s Lorenzo Sonego 6-3, 6-4.
John Millman of Australia knocked out Lithuania’s Ricardas Berankis 6-3, 7-6 (4).
In the last match of the night, the United States’ Reilly Opelka came from behind to beat Australia’s Nick Kyrgios 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-4.
–Field Level Media
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