Rotterdam finalist from two years ago Grigor Dimitrov is through to the second round of the first ATP 500 event of the season, beating Denis Shapovalov 6-3, 7-6 in an hour and 29 minutes. The Bulgarian played better on the second serve and in the pivotal moments, fending off all three break chances and securing one break in the first set before sealing the deal in the tie break of the second, finishing the clash with 19 winners and 17 unforced errors.
On the other hand, it was the sixth defeat for Denis in nine matches so far in 2020, struggling to find the range with his backhand or to deliver better percentages on the second serve, wasting a set point at 5-4 in set number two and ending his campaign in the very first round.
The opening set was decided in the opening two games, with Dimitrov repelling two break chances in game one before seizing the third break chance with a forehand winner a few minutes later to open a 2-0 advantage. Serving well in the rest of the set, Grigor closed it in the ninth game when Denis netted a backhand, moving in front in 38 minutes and hoping for more of the same in set number two.
There, nothing could separate them on serve in the first nine games before Denis created that set point at 5-4, denied by a service winner from the Bulgarian who fired a forehand winner to create three match points in the tie break at 5-3, converting the first following another backhand mistake from the Canadian to secure the place in the last 16.
The 6th seed Roberto Bautista Agut had to dig deep to beat a qualifier Marton Fucsovics 4-6, 7-6, 6-1 in two hours and 17 minutes, winning three points more than the opponent. Roberto got broken three times, earning five on the other side and taking charge in the crucial moments to bring the victory home with a strong performance in the decider.
Marton earned those three breaks in the opener, fending off a set point at 5-6 in set number two to move closer to the finish line, only to drop the breaker 7-1 and lose momentum completely, as the Spaniard grabbed three breaks of serve in the final set to reach the next round.
Daniel Evans took down another qualifier Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3, 7-5 in an hour and 16 minutes, losing 11 points in 11 service games and saving the only break point he faced to mount the pressure on the German. Kohlschreiber suffered a break in the sixth game of the opening set and fought well in the second, with both players producing one commanding hold after another before the Briton claimed 12 of the last 13 points to move over the top and make a winning start.
Pablo Carreno Busta needed two hours and 45 minutes to dismiss Adrian Mannarino 5-7, 7-6, 6-4, creating no less than 17 break chances and converting only four, missing the opportunity to secure the triumph much earlier.