After a great run in Melbourne that propelled him into the first Grand Slam quarter-final, Frances Tiafoe has been unable to carry that form and stay o the winning course. The young American has lost four of the next five matches and his latest defeat came against Nicolas Jarry who toppled him 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 in two hours and 19 minutes for the fourth Masters 1000 win.
It was a close encounter and Nicolas won just one point more than Frances, fending off seven out of ten break points and scoring four breaks to emerge victoriously. The Chilean secured the opening set with a break in game ten and Frances bounced back with a higher level of tennis in set number two, opening a 4-1 lead and holding at love at 5-3 to set up a decider.
There, Jarry forged a 5-2 advantage before the real drama happened when Tiafoe saved two match points in game nine to break back and stay in contention. Nonetheless, Jarry kept his focused and sealed the deal with a break in game 12 to make a winning start and reach the second round.
The 22-year-old Jared Donaldson was forced to miss the last third of the season due to a knee injury and he has finally won the first match since Washington last July, ousting a qualifier Tatsuma Ito 6-3, 7-5 in an hour and 33 minutes.
Both players faced four break points and it was Jared who played better in the crucial moments, dropping serve only once and securing three breaks for straight sets win. The American sailed through the opening set with five good holds and a break in game eight, trailing 5-2 in set number two before rattling off five games in a row to cross the finish line and score the much-needed triumph.
Roberto Carballes Baena claimed the maiden Masters 1000 win at the age of 25, toppling Ryan Harrison 6-3, 7-5 in an hour and 39 minutes. Ryan grabbed three breaks although that was never enough after a poor performance in his games, losing serve three times in each set to hit the exit door and stay on just two ATP wins so far in 2019.
A qualifier Filip Krajinovic is off to a winning start as well, beating Mikhail Kukushkin 6-3, 6-4 in 80 minutes. Completely out of form and without Thomas Johansson in his box, Krajinovic is ranked outside the top-100 but he played well today, losing serve twice and taking half of the return points for four breaks of serve and the place in the second round and valuable points.