NEW YORK (AFP) – Fourth-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas raced into the round of 16 at the Western & Southern Open on Sunday night with a 6-1, 6-3 victory over two-time Grand Slam finalist Kevin Anderson.
Greece’s Tsitsipas needed just 69 minutes to subdue Anderson, pressuring the South African’s second serve as he broke four times.
He didn’t face a break point himself until the fifth game of the second set, when Tsitsipas fell into a 0-40 hold but won five straight points to escape the jam. “That was a crucial game, being able to come back there and maintain the focus that I needed to be back in the match and not be a break down, that was a very good effort from me,” Tsitsipas said.
“It was my fighting spirit that turned on and my service points there were incredible.”
He gained the lone break of the second set when Anderson double-faulted on break point in the eighth game, and finished off the match on his second match point when Anderson sailed a return of a second serve long. “I think the fact that I kept my serve very aggressive and I remained aggressive with my groundstrokes helped a lot and I’m very pleased that I was able to maintain my game throughout the entire match, same intensity,” Tsitsipas said.
Tsitsipas was the first of the top eight men’s seeds to see action as all enjoyed first-round byes.
Women’s top seed Karolina Pliskova fell at the first hurdle, beaten 7-5, 6-4 by Russian Veronika Kudermetova in her second-round opener. Tsitsipas, seeking his sixth ATP title, next faces either 16th seeded American John Isner or Australian John Millman, both first-round winners on Sunday.
Isner beat his doubles partner Hubert Hurkacz of Poland 7-5, 6-4.
Millman rallied to beat France’s Adrian Mannarino 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7/2).
In other first-round action, Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman defeated Casper Ruud 7-6 (7/2), 6-3 to advance.