The 5th seed Andrey Rublev had to work hard in the opening match in front of the home fans in St. Petersburg, beating a qualifier Ilya Ivashka 4-6, 6-0, 6-4 in an hour and 47 minutes. World no. 135 gave his bests in sets one and three to follow the pace of the better-ranked opponent, creating nine break chances and converting two before Andrey made one last push to cross the finish line first and avoid an early setback.
The Belarusian hit no less than 16 double faults and that cost him a lot, facing 13 break chances and suffering five breaks to propel Andrey into the last 16. The young Russian sprayed a backhand error to lose serve at love at 2-2 in the opener, saving three set points on serve at 3-5 with three winners before Ivashka brought it home after fending off a couple of break points in the next game for a 6-4.
Rublev bounced back in set number two, storming over his opponent to deliver a bagel in just over 20 minutes, securing the set with a beautiful volley winner in game six and gathering boost ahead of the decider. There, Ilya recovered his game and converted the fifth break opportunity at 3-3 with a deep return to move in front and just two games away from the finish line.
With no room for errors, Rublev broke back in the next game after a double fault from Ivashka, holding at 15 in the next game and securing another break at 5-4 thanks to a terrible volley from Ilya to seal the deal and move through.
In one of his last ATP tournaments in a career, Janko Tipsarevic retired against the struggling Bosnian Damir Dzumhur while trailing 7-5, 3-6, 3-1 while Egor Gerasimov defeated Lukas Rosol 7-5, 6-2 in the battle of the qualifiers.
Gerasimov scored a win at the US Open and he played well in this encounter as well, dropping 14 points in ten service games and fending off the only break chance he faced to mount the pressure on the other side of the net.
Rosol stayed competitive in the first set before getting broken three times, losing 7-5, 6-2 and propelling Egor into the second round. Roberto Carballes Baena took down Martin Klizan 6-2, 7-5 in just under an hour and a half, taking half of the return points to control the scoreboard and earn only the second ATP win under the roof.
Ricardas Berankis needed only 62 minutes to dismiss Dudi Sela 6-3, 6-0, dominating on both serve and return to find himself in the second round. The Lithuanian dropped 12 points in eight service games, repelling one break point and keeping the pressure on the other side of the net that Sela couldn't endure, losing the last nine games of the encounter to waste a wild card and finish the campaign in the first round.
Yevgeny Donskoy used his invitation with both hands, ousting Matteo Viola 6-2, 6-1 in 65 minutes for only the third ATP win in 2019. Donskoy got broken once and was all over the Italian on the return, stealing almost 60% of those points and claiming six breaks that carried him over the top.