Hyeon Chung made a winning start in Basel after a rock solid 6-3 6-1 triumph over Paolo Lorenzi, collecting valuable points in the U21 Race to Milan, where he currently stands in 8th place behind Daniil Medvedev. This was their first meeting and the youngster played better in the closing stages of both sets to earn a win in an hour and 36 minutes.
This wasn't the quickest match the crowd could get, mainly thanks to many deuces at the end of the first and at the start of the second set, and Hyeon took charge in the most important points to create a healthy lead that was enough to push him over the finish line.
It was a solid opener from both players, with no break points in the first 6 games and it was Hyeon who drew first blood with a break in game 7, forcing an error from his opponent. Korean held serve in game 8 for a 5-3 but only after 7 deuces and 2 break points saved, and he closed the set with another break in game 9 when Lorenzi double faulted.
Paolo fends off 5 break points in his opening service game in set number 2 but that was all we saw from him, as Hyeon took control in the remaining games to bring the match home. Chung broke in game 4, prevailing in the battle of backhands, and again in game 6 when he blasted a nice forehand down the line, taking a 5-1 lead.
The youngster sealed the deal after a poor slice from Lorenzi in the following game, setting the second round clash with David Goffin or Peter Gojowczyk. Denis Shapovalov, the youngest player in the Top 100, notched his 11th win of the season after a hard-fought 4-6 6-2 7-6 victory against Yuichi Sugita in 2 hours. After losing the opening set, Shapovalov took control but he could spoil everything when he lost serve in the 7th game of the final set, being forced to close the match in the tie break.
The youngster fired 13 aces and he had better percentages on both the first and second serve, but despite that he faced 6 break points, fending off 4 of those to keep the scoreboard on his side. Sugita had to play against 5 break points and he got broken 3 times, managing to overcome the deficit before the end but just falling short in the tie break.
Japanese played better in the first set, avoiding problems in his service games and breaking Denis in the third game when Canadian sent a forehand wide. Sugita clinched the set in the 10th game with a backhand cross court winner and Denis had some work to do if he wanted to make a turnaround and impose his game.
Exactly that happened in the second set when he took full control, dropping 2 points on serve and breaking his rival twice for a 6-2 in under half an hour. Shapovalov broke in the second game with a forehand down the line winner and he cruised through his service games to keep the pressure on his opponent.
Yuichi was powerless in game 8 as well against mighty forehands from his rival and Denis broke him again to grab the set by 6-2 and set the decider, with the momentum on his side. Still, that could all change in the third game of the final set when Yuichi had 3 break points, but he failed to convert any and was punished soon after that.
Shapovalov broke him with another cracking forehand winner and he moved 4-1 in front after a service winner in game 5, getting closer and closer to the finish line. Out of sudden, Sugita broke back in game 7 and he was back on the level terms with Shapovalov after a solid hold in game 8, surviving 3 deuces without break points.
They both served well in the remaining games and the winner had to be determined in the tie break, which Shapovalov won by 7-3 to book his place in the second round. He opened a 4-2 lead with a mini-break in the 6th point and Yuichi ended the match in the worst possible manner, hitting a double fault to create his own writings on the wall.
First round results: