An 18-year-old Montreal native Felix Auger-Aliassime has scored the first victory in front of the home fans, prevailing over another Canadian Vasek Pospisil 6-2, 6-7, 7-6 in two hours and 33 minutes. It was their third match and the third victory for Felix, losing serve once and delivering three on the other side to grab the opener in strong fashion.
Nothing could have separated them in sets two and three and the youngster moved over the top in the deciding tie break for the 12th Masters 1000 win in a career. Auger-Aliassime had a little bit better winners-unforced errors ratio, forging the advantage in the shortest range up to four strokes and staying focused on the decisive moments to avoid an early exit.
Pospisil got broken in games one, five and seven in the opener, falling 5-2 behind after a smash winner from Felix who clinched the set with a service winner in the next game for a 6-2. There were no break points in set number two, with Pospisil managing to stay in touch and reach a tie break that he claimed 703 after forcing an error from Auger-Aliassime, gathering the momentum and hoping for more of the same in the decider.
Just like the second, the third set offered no chances for the returners and it was the youngster who gained a 6-3 advantage with two unreturned serves, sealing the deal in the next point after a forehand error from Vasek to set the second-round clash with another Canadian Milos Raonic.
The Aussie John Millman delivered the sixth Masters 1000 triumph, prevailing over Feliciano Lopez 6-7, 7-6, 6-3 in two hours and 33 minutes, getting broken once and keeping the coolness in the second set tie break to escape the deficit before breaking Lopez twice in the decider to cross the finish line first.
Guido Pella counted to 30 against David Goffin, taking out the 15th seed 6-4, 7-6 in an hour and 39 minutes for the 30th win in 2019. Goffin took their previous three encounters but that wasn’t the case today despite facing only one break point in the entire clash, squandering all seven chances on the return to propel the Argentine into the second round.
Guido survived an early obstacle already in game two when he fended off four break points, moving in front with a break in game five and repelling two more break chances at 4-3 to remain in front, closing the set with a backhand drop shot winner in game ten for a 6-4.
The Argentine got out of jail in the eighth game of the second set after forcing an error from David, staying on the positive side of the scoreboard and taking the tie break 7-4 following an unforced error from Goffin to book the place in round two.
Hubert Hurkacz won the battle of the coevals against Taylor Fritz, scoring a 6-3, 7-5 triumph in an hour and 14 minutes after saving four out of five break points. Fritz has been playing on a high level in the last couple of tournaments but that wasn’t the case against the Pole, suffering three breaks and losing the edge in the closing stages of the second set despite coming back from a 5-3 deficit.
Borna Coric saved two match points against Washington semi-finalist Peter Gojowczyk in a 2-6, 6-1, 7-6 triumph, starting all over after a terrible opening set and not losing ground at 5-6 to reach a tie break that he claimed 7-2 after a forehand error from Gojowczyk to emerge as the winner despite being on the verge of defeat.
The 13th seed Nikoloz Basilashvili also had to work hard after the opening set, toppling Jan-Lennard Struff 2-6, 6-2, 6-3 with a rock-solid performance in set number two that gave him the momentum for the decider where he broke the German’s resistance for the place in the last 16.