Guido Pella is among the players who are constantly improving their game on the hard courts, and we could see that today as well in his 6-4 7-6 victory over Borna Coric in an hour and 39 minutes. This was the 13th time this season that Borna lost an opening round match in the ATP tournaments and he will have to work hard to change that in 2018, with probably not much to gain for him in the rest of 2017.
Pella served great, losing 15 points in 11 service games and fending off all 3 break points to avoid any kind of setbacks on his serve. Coric had to work more in his games to keep the pace with the Argentine, losing 12 out of 25 points on his second serve and he lost serve once from 4 opportunities he gave to Guido, which cost him the opening set.
It was a shaky start for both, they needed some time to find their shots, and they both saved 3 break points to stay even at 3-3, after some 8 deuces. The crucial moment occurred in game 10 when Pella broke Croat from 40-15 down, taking the last 4 points to wrap up the opener in some 50 minutes.
The second set was much more fluid and we saw some good hitting on both sides, with only 1 deuce in 12 service games. They reached the tie break in no time at all and the pressure was on Borna, who had to win it to remain in contention.
He opened it with a mini-break but that was almost everything he could do, dropping the next 5 points before Pella brought the breaker home by 7-2, earning a place in the second round. Challenger legend Yen-Hsun Lu scored just 6 ATP wins before Chengdu, but he will play in the second round for the third time in a row (Winston-Salem and US Open) after a commanding 6-2 6-3 win over young Swede Mikael Ymer in 66 minutes. It wasn't a good match overall, both players struggled with their second serve but the veteran made the key difference with his first serve, that gave him some free points and also a nice opportunity to control the rallies right from the start.
He won 55% of the return points, breaking youngster 5 times, and that was more than enough to safely bring the match home, as he got broken only twice. Lu saved 2 break points in the opening game and he broke Ymer in the following game to open up a 4-1 lead.
Swede wasted 3 game points to lose serve again in game 6, but he pulled one break back a few minutes later to reduce his deficit to 5-2. Yen-Hsun didn't have to serve for the set for the second time, as he gets the job done with another break in game 8.
Mikael fought a little bit better in the second set, losing serve at love in game 4 but getting the break back in game 7. Instead of staying in touch with Lu and sending the set into an interesting finish, he lost 8 out of the last 9 points to end the match on the losing side, getting a clear message that he has to work much harder if he wants to compete with the players from the Top 100.
Kyle Edmund claimed his 25th win of the season after an easy day in the office, toppling Bernard Tomic 6-4 6-2 in 62 minutes. This was their first meeting and the Briton was the dominant figure, saving 2 break points he faced and stealing rival's serve 3 times for a one-sided triumph. Kyle served at only 48% but he didn't need better percentages against such a poor returner, winning 22 out of 25 points on his first serve! Tomic, who was lucky to enter the main draw directly (he was already in the qualifying draw), lost almost 40% of the points in his games, unable to match Edmund's pace in the rallies, and he saved just 2 out of 5 break points for his 4th straight defeat on the Tour.
The first set was swift and fluent, with no deuces, and the only break occurred in game 5 when Kyle took the lead, keeping it until the end of the set for a 6-4. Briton lost just 5 points on serve in the opener and he carried the same rhythm into the second set as well, keeping the pressure on Tomic all the time.
The Aussie stayed in touch in the first 10 minutes of the second set or so, before he lost the last 5 games of the match, losing serve in games 5 and 7. He had 2 break points in game 6 to abolish his deficit and make the result even at 3-3, but Kyle saved them to move 4-2 ahead, and it was easy to bring the match over the finish line after that.
Nikoloz Basilashvili took down the 7th seed Viktor Troicki by 6-3 2-6 6-2 in an hour and 41 minutes, for his 25th ATP win of the season. 3 months ago they played at Roland Garros and Nikoloz also grabbed that one, in 3 tie breaks, and this time he scored a more comfortable win, recovering after losing the second set. Both players had their roles in the set they won and it was Basilashvili who saved more for the decider, saving 5 out of 9 break points and breaking Troicki 5 times from 15 opportunities.
Georgian broke in the second game of the match to open up a 4-1 lead, and Troicki got the break back in game 7, serving for a 4-4. Instead of that, Nikoloz broke again to create another gap and he closed the set with a solid hold in game 9 for a 6-3.
He opened the second set with a break as well but Troicki raised his level to win 6 games in a row, taking the second set in style with 3 breaks. He couldn't keep the momentum for too long, though, having to play against 7 break points at the start of the third set, barely saving them all to avoid the setback.
Basilashvili was still pushing strong and he grabbed the last 5 games of the match, breaking Serb in games 5 and 7 and wrapping up a win on his 4th match point in game 8 to reach the next round. First round results:
• ATP Chengdu: Alexander Zverev wins season's second title• ATP Chengdu: Pablo Carreno Busta edges Alexander Bublik to lift title• ATP Chengdu: Pablo Carreno Busta downs Denis Shapovalov to set Bublik clash• ATP Chengdu: Denis Shapovalov wins. Hyeon Chung and Taylor Fritz bow out• ATP Chengdu: Fernando Verdasco, Dusan Lajovic, Pablo Carreno Busta advance• ATP Chengdu: Cristian Garin downs Kyle Edmund. Evans and Klahn reach R2