The top seed Marin Cilic opened his campaign in style, beating young qualifier Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3 6-2 in 73 minutes for his 34th victory of the season. Both players served at 60% but it was the Croat who went through his service games more easily, losing serve once and creating 11 break chances to keep the pressure on the teenager all the time.
Stefanos struggled on his second serve and he got broken 4 times, avoiding an even more one-sided loss after saving 7 break points. Tsitsipas, who lost his 8th match on the Tour this season, was off to a better start, breaking Marin in the third game, but his lead lasted only for a few minutes, as Cilic broke back on his 4th break point in game 4.
Marin earned another break in game 8 to move 5-3 in front, and he closed the set in the following game, after a deuce. Better-ranked player was simply too good in set number 2, dropping 4 points on serve and breaking Tsitsipas in the 1st and 7th games for a commanding win, bringing the match home in the 8th game on own serve for the place in the second round.
The 5th seed Kevin Anderson continued where he left at the US Open, taking down Gilles Simon by 6-2 7-6 in an hour and 32 minutes, for his 3rd win over the Frenchman in as many matches. It was the dominant display of power from Anderson in his game, blasting 17 aces and losing 12 points in 10 service games, never facing a break point. It was all about Anderson in the first set, he lost 3 points and serve and won almost 50% of the points on the return to clinch it by 6-2.
He won 12 out of the opening 15 points to settle into a nice rhythm, breaking Simon in game 2 after strong forehand attacks. Gilles was unable to do anything on the return and he struggled to impose his shots in the rallies, inferior against deep and precise groundstrokes of his rival.
He managed to fend off 5 break points in game 6 to at least stay in touch, but South African brought the set home with another break in game 8 after a good return. Simon used the break between two sets to reset himself and we saw better tennis from him in set number 2, playing well on serve and reaching the tie break with no troubles.
Anderson stayed untouchable in his games and the tie break was inevitable, as he couldn't make the damage on the return like he did in the opening set. Kevin earned a mini-break in the 3rd point and he moved 4-1 in front with 2 strong forehands.
From 2-5 down, Simon scored 2 mini-breaks to climb back on the scoreboard, and he even had a set point at 6-5. Kevin saved it with an ace and earned the match point with another one, this one on T line. The 5th seed wrapped up a win with a volley winner, his 31st of the match, and he will certainly try to continue in the same style in the following rounds.
Bernard Tomic experienced the taste of victory for the first time since Eastbourne in June, beating Joao Sousa 6-3 3-6 6-3 in an hour and 46 minutes. The Aussie, who is currently ranked 162nd, earned the win with a lone break in the final set, saving 5 out of 7 break points in total. Sousa also played against 7 break points but he got broken thrice and he failed to seize his opportunities in the decider, ending on the losing side.
Tomic broke twice at the start of the match and he kept the lead after saving 2 break points in game 5. That was enough to grab the opener by 6-3 but Sousa moved ahead in set number 2 with an early break. Portuguese had to save 2 break points in the last game of the set and he was successful, sending the match into a decider.
There, Tomic was more focused, which is a rare scene these days, saving a break point in games 5 and 7, and stealing rival's serve in game 6 to create a 5-2 gap. He needed 5 match points in the 9th game but he brought the match home in the end with a service winner, celebrating his 10th victory of the season.
First round results: