Filip Krajinovic is through to the second round at the Masters 1000 event in Rome, beating Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-4, 7-5 in an hour and 43 minutes. It was their first meeting since Rotterdam 2018 and the Serb had the upper hand, dropping only 15 points in 11 service games to notch the 17th Masters 1000 victory.
Auger-Aliassime grabbed only one break from three opportunities, giving serve away thrice from ten chances offered to Krajinovic and finishing his Rome journey on the first stop. Filip forged the lead with a break in the third game, wasting five more chances in game five and defending two break opportunities in the next one to remain 4-2 ahead.
The Serb opened a 5-2 gap before the Canadian pulled one break back, staying in touch until game ten when Filip held for a 6-4. The second set was more fluid and they stayed neck and neck until 5-5. With no room for errors, Krajinovic clinched 12 of the last 16 points to seal the deal in straight sets and move into the next round.
The young Norwegian Casper Ruud earned the third Masters 1000 triumph, toppling the 11th seed Karen Khachanov 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 after two hours and 13 minutes. Playing steady tennis behind the first and second serve, Casper got broken twice and created no less than 17 chances against a pale Russian, converting four to cross the finish line first.
Ruud grabbed the opener with a break in game four, suffering two breaks in set number two and bouncing back stronger in the decider, serving well and stealing Karen's serve in games two and six for the place in the second round.
The 15th seed Grigor Dimitrov defeated Gianluca Mager 7-5, 6-1 in an hour and 14 minutes, wrapping up a tight opening set and dominating in the second for a winning start. Serving at 47%, the Bulgarian controlled the initial shot's pace, giving serve away once and converting four chances on the return to leave the Italian behind.
Filip Krajinovic, Casper Ruud, Borna Coric are through to the second round in Rome.
They traded breaks in games four and five and stayed close to each other until the decisive moments. Grigor saved a break point at 5-5 and took charge from there, stealing the set with a break in game 12 and racing into a 5-0 lead in set number two that carried him through.
The US Open quarter-finalist Borna Coric took down Cristian Garin 6-4, 6-4 in two hours and six minutes, avenging the Rio de Janeiro loss from February. Borna lost serve thrice and secured six to control the scoreboard, leading 3-1 in the first and 4-1 in the second set to bring the victory home from there after a grueling battle.