Hubert Hurkacz takes a step towards Turin with victory in Astana Open first round
Hubert Hurkacz advanced his quest to qualify for the ATP Finals in Turin on Monday when he moved past Francisco Cerundolo 6-2, 7-6(2) at the Astana Open in Nur-Sultan Kazakhstan.
Hurkacz was in dominating form during his 82-minute triumph over Cerundulo, despite the second set going to a tiebreak.
The 25-year-old secured a 6-2, 7-6(2) victory that ensures he progresses to the second round where he will face either Tallon Griekspoor or Alexander Bublik who meet on Tuesday afternoon.
Hurkacz is currently ninth on the ATP Race To Turin standing, just 20 points behind eighth-placed Alexander Zverev, who has been sidelined since his Roland Garros injury.
The Pole made his debut at the prestigious end-of-year event in Turin last season and will be hoping to boost his qualification chances with a deep run in Kazakhstan.
Hurkacz’s pursuit of the top eight was aided by the first round exit of eighth-seeded Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime who went down to Roberto Bautista 6-4, 7-6(6).
“It is my first time here. I played great in these conditions,” Bautista Agut said. “I am very happy to win against a Top 10 player. To beat Felix is not easy. Especially on indoor [courts]. That means I had to play a very good match. I was very solid and also very aggressive and I am very happy.”
Four players have secured their places at the ATP Tour Finals and it appears likely that Novak Djokovic will comfortably do enough to ensure he at least takes the spot reserved for a Grand Slam winner.
Three places are effectively up for grabs and Andrey Rublev, currently sixth in the ATP Live Race To Turin also advanced, defeating Serbian Laslo Djere 6-4, 6-3.
The 24-year-old saved three break points in the first-round match and now leads Djere 3-0 in their Head to Head record.
Rublev will next face Zhizhen Zhang after the Chinese qualifier defeated Russia’s Aslan Karatsev 4-6, 6-4, 6-1.
Frenchman Adrian Mannarino battled past former World No 3 Stan Wawrinka 1-6, 6-2, 6-3 to continue his impressive form in Astana.
Adrian Mannarino reached the final in his only previous appearance in 2020 and, after a slow start, looked strong at the indoor hard-court tournament which started as an emergency stopgap but has become at least a semi-permanent fixture.
The 34-year-old outlasted the Swiss in the baseline exchanges to improve to 2-0 in their head-to-head record.
Mannarino will next play top seed Carlos Alcaraz or Belgian lucky loser David Goffin.
In other action, Dutchman Botic van de Zandschulp dispatched Kazakh wild card Beibit Zhukzyev 6-1, 6-1.
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