ATP Tokyo: Denis Shapovalov sinks Kecmanovic. Opelka serves out Fritz


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ATP Tokyo: Denis Shapovalov sinks Kecmanovic. Opelka serves out Fritz

After a busy day, the opening round at the ATP 500 event in Tokyo has been completed, with eight players securing the place in the second round. In the battle of the youngsters born in 1999, Denis Shapovalov took down Miomir Kecmanovic for the second time in 2019, scoring a 6-4, 6-4 triumph in an hour and 21 minutes after a rock-solid performance behind the initial shot.

Hitting 16 aces and many service winners, Denis repelled five break points and stole Miomir's serve once in each set from six opportunities overall to seal the deal in straight sets and celebrate the 26th victory of the season.

Miomir got himself into trouble right in the opening game, spraying a backhand error to lose serve and send the momentum to the other side of the net. He had the opportunity to pull the break back immediately, though, creating four break points in the next game and wasting them all after four winners from Shapovalov who hit the right shots in the right moments to stay in front.

The Serb survived a tough service game at 1-3 but couldn't create more chances on the return, with Denis sealing the set with four winers in game ten for a 6-4. The Canadian grabbed a break at 1-1 in the second set thanks to a loose backhand from Kecmanovic, cementing the advantage with three winners in the next game and repelling a break point at 3-2 with another booming serve to remain in front.

Serving for the victory in the tenth game, Shapovalov landed four winners to cross the finish line in style and advance into the last 16, happy with the way he performed in the opening match. In another clash of the youngsters, Reilly Opelka took down his good friend Taylor Fritz 6-3, 6-4 in an hour and 13 minutes for the first win over Fritz in three encounters.

Serving at 70% and blasting 16 aces, Reilly dropped 14 points in his games and saved the only break point he faced, keeping the pressure on Fritz who failed to reach at least one tie break, struggling on the second serve and getting broken once in each set to psuh Reilly over the top.

Returners claimed only 11 points in the first set ad it was Opelka who dominated in all five service games, delivering one good hold after another and waiting for a chance on the return. It came in the sixth game when he moved in front with a volley winner, confirming the break with three winners and bringing the set home with an ace at 5-3.

Taylor sent a forehand wide at the beginning of the second set to give serve away, missing the opportunity to pull the break back in the next game when Reilly hit an ace and avoiding an even bigger deficit after repelling a couple of break chances that could have sent Opelka 3-0 up.

The lower-ranked player delivered four commanding service games and moved over the top with a service winner in game ten for the 21st victory in 2019. The French veteran Gilles Simon toppled a qualifier Pablo Andujar 6-4, 6-0 in 70 minutes, beating the Spaniard for the second time in five encounters.

Simon lost serve twice in the first set but when he was already in front, dominating on the return with 60% of the points won, stealing the Spaniard's serve six times from eight chances to control the pace and grab the last eight games that propelled him over the top.

Radu Albot ousted Filip Krajinovic 6-3, 7-5 in an hour and 30 minutes, overcoming an early deficit in the first set and sealing the deal with a late break in the second after previously squandering the initial advantage. A qualifier Yasutaka Uchiyama defeated the 4th seed Benoit Paire 6-2, 6-2 in swift 54 minutes, gifting only six points in his games and taking almost half of the return points to score four breaks from six chances, celebrating only the sixth ATP win in a career.

Jordan Thompson prevailed against Juan Ignacio Londero 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 in just under two hours while Taro Daniel sent the 2nd seed Borna Coric packing after a 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 win in the most extended encounter of the day. It was a mighty close clash with 97 points for each player and four out of six break chances converted on both sides, setting up a tie break after no breaks of serve in the decider that Daniel grabbed 7-5 to cross the finish line first and earn a notable win in the season that hasn't been so great for him.