The young Finn Emil Ruusuvuori got an excellent chance to score an ATP win as a qualifier in Nur-Sultan, facing the 19-year-old Timofey Skatov in the first round. The home teenager couldn't do much on his ATP debut, as Emil beat him 6-2, 6-0 in an hour.
The Helsinki native lost one point behind the first serve, suffering one break and producing six from 12 opportunities after stealing more than 60% of the return points. Russuvuori grabbed the first three games of the encounter, lost the advantage and gained it again to seal the deal in style.
From 3-2, the Finn rattled off nine straight games and crossed the finish line in no time to reach the last 16. In a battle of the qualifiers, Yuichi Sugita ousted Damir Dzumhur 6-1, 5-7, 6-4 in two hours and seven minutes, saving seven out of ten break chances and securing five breaks that kept him safe.
The Japanese led 6-1, 4-2 before Damir bounced back, taking three straight games and wasting a set point at 5-4. The Bosnian grabbed a break in game 12 to steal the set, suffering two breaks in the decider to push Sugita through.
The Italian veteran Andreas Seppi defeated Aslan Karatsev 6-3, 1-6, 6-3 in just under two hours, with three breaks on each side and two points more for the Russian. Those were not enough to keep him safe, dominating set number two but suffering a couple of breaks in the decider to push Seppi over the top.
Jiri Vesely prevailed against Tennys Sandgren 6-4, 7-6 in an hour and 40 minutes, earning the 12th victory from 17 ATP matches in 2020.
Emil Ruusuvuori and Jiri Vesely scored victories in Nur-Sultan.
The American fired 13 aces and fended off three out of four break chances, although it wasn't enough at least for a set after Vesely saved all five break points to keep his serve intact.
The Czech drew first blood in the seventh game, bouncing back from 40-0 down in the next one to win five straight points and confirm the advantage. Jiri held at 15 in game ten to wrap up the set, with nothing to separate them in the second part of the encounter.
In the tie break, Tennys saved a match point at 5-6, wasted his opportunity at 7-6 and allowed Vesely to take the breaker 9-7 and move over the top. Egor Gerasimov prevailed against Lloyd Harris 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 in two hours and one minute, winning two points more and delivering his best tennis when it mattered the most.
The Belarusian competed on a high level in the opener, regaining his strokes in the decider and taking the tie break 7-3 to make a winning start and advance into the second round.