ATP Winston-Salem: Rublev keeps winning after beating Federer. Paire wins


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ATP Winston-Salem: Rublev keeps winning after beating Federer. Paire wins

The top seed Benoit Paire is through to the third round in Winston-Salem, beating Prajnesh Gunneswaran 6-3, 7-5 in 69 minutes. The Frenchman saved four out of five break points and grabbed three breaks of serve from four opportunities, playing well behind the initial shot and staying focused in the closing stages of the second set to seal the deal in straight sets.

Gunneswaran managed to overcome a slow start and pull the break back in the seventh game of the opener, only to suffer a break in the next game and waste the opportunity on the return at 3-5 to hand the set to Paire. Nothing could have separated them in the first ten games of the second set and it was Benoit who claimed 12 of the last 16 points to seal the deal after a break in game 11 and two great holds in between to enter the last 16.

Competing for the first time since Atlanta, the 15th seed Ugo Humbert is through to the third round following a 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 triumph over a qualifier Bjorn Fratangelo in an hour and 42 minutes, hitting ten aces and fending off five out of eight break chances to mount the pressure on the American.

Fratangelo gave serve away five times, unable to follow the rival's numbers after the opening set and missing the opportunity to prolong his campaign for at least one more round. Bjorn grabbed the opening set with breaks in games five and nine before Ugo shifted into a higher gear, opening a 4-1 advantage in set number two and closing the set with the third break in game nine, boosting his confidence ahead of the decider.

There, the French player took the last four games to march over the finish line and claim the 13th victory in 2019. Robin Haase is out from the top-150 for the first time since July 2010, finding the form here in Winston-Salem for back-to-back wins for the first time after Miami, ousting the 4th seed Joao Sousa 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in an hour and 53 minutes.

Both players faced only four break chances and every set was determined with a single break, with Haase taking the upper hand after the opener and dropping only 12 points behind the initial shots in the rest of the encounter to mount the pressure on Sousa and book the spot in the last 16 after a break in the seventh game of the decider.

Lloyd Harris had to retire after losing the opening set against Casper Rudd 6-1 in half an hour while Filip Krajinovic defeated Tomas Berdych 3-6, 7-5, 6-1 in an hour and 45 minutes, overcoming a 6-3, 4-2 deficit and surviving a return game at 4-5 in set number two when the Czech served for the victory.

The Serb claimed the last three games to steal the set and gain the momentum, dominating in the decider to emerge at the top and stay on the title course. The most experienced player in the draw Feliciano Lopez toppled Pablo Andujar 6-4, 1-6, 7-5 in just over two hours despite winning two points less than his opponent.

Feliciano lost only three points on serve in the opening set before losing ground in the second, recovering his game in the decider and moving over the top with a break in game 12 to avoid the deciding tie break. The 6th seed Sam Querrey ousted Roberto Carballes Baena 6-3, 7-5 in an hour and 29 minutes, losing 13 points in 11 service games and facing one break point in the entire match.

The Spaniard converted it but lost serve three times from ten opportunities offered to the American, staying in set number two before Sam rattled off the last eight points from 5-5 to cross the finish line and reach the next round.

A week after beating Roger Federer in Cincinnati, Andrey Rublev is on the winning course in Winston-Salm as well, needing two hours and 17 minutes to dismiss the 9th seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-7, 6-3, 6-1. The Russian didn't face a break point in the first set and still lost it 7-5 in the tie break despite a 5-3 lead, dropping the last four points to push the Spaniard in front.

Rublev was the player to beat in sets two and three, giving away 11 points in his games and delivering two breaks in each set to sail towards the finish line.