ATP Montreal Masters: del Potro ends Isner’s streak

Kyrgios and Monfils among the opening day winners

Updated - August 08, 2017 09:59 pm IST

Published - August 08, 2017 09:56 pm IST - MONTREAL

Rocking again Juan Martin del Potro, who eliminated John Isner in round one, feels he is back in good shape.

Rocking again Juan Martin del Potro, who eliminated John Isner in round one, feels he is back in good shape.

Former US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro defeated hard-serving American John Isner 7-5, 7-5 in the ATP Montreal Masters here on Monday.

The Argentine snapped an eight-match win streak for Isner, who won back-to-back titles at Newport and Atlanta. del Potro had to overcome 24 aces by 14th seeded Isner as he seeks to return to the final for the first time since losing to Murray in 2009.

del Potro hammered nine aces, had three double faults and won 85 % of his first serves in the 1h 49m match. He broke Isner at 5-5 in the second set and then jumped to a 40-0 lead in the final game. del Potro sealed the contest on his second match point by hitting a forehand winner down the line.

“I got lucky tonight,” del Potro said. “Nobody wants to play John in the first round. But now I am in good shape. I look forward to improving my game and winning more matches.”

In early matches on Monday, Australia’s Nick Kyrgios romped past Serbian Viktor Troicki 6-1, 6-2 and France’s Gael Monfils shook off a slow start to beat American Steve Johnson 2-6, 7-6(1), 6-1.

France’s Benoit Paire also advanced, downing American Donald Young 6-3, 5-7, 6-4, but rising French star Lucas Pouille fell 7-6(5), 7-6(8) to American Jared Donaldson.

Monfils was broken twice in a sluggish first set, but gradually found his range, firing 11 aces and saving the only other two break points he faced in the one-hour, 38-minute victory.

“At 4-3 in the second set I started putting the ball in the court. I was able to move better,” said Monfils who had his knees taped during the second set. “I was able to make it more difficult for him. From then on, I was able to get some more opportunities and I was able to make him have some doubts.”

French veteran Richard Gasquet survived an early scare from Canada’s Brayden Schnur but held on for a 7-6(5), 5-7, 6-1 win in their opening round match.

Meanwhile, Rafael Nadal said he’ll focus on the players he’s going to face and not on his chance to return to No. 1 in the world. A semifinal run in Montreal would see the Spaniard supplant Britain’s Andy Murray atop the rankings.

“I don’t even think about that now,” Nadal said of the No. 1 ranking. “I’m trying to have the right preparation now and that’s it. I’m going to keep trying to play the way I did in the first part of the season, so if I’m able to make that happen, I hope to have a chance to do well.” The top seed will open his campaign for a fourth Canadian title on Wednesday.

Roger Federer, who seized his 19th Grand Slam title at Wimbledon, is also slated to open on Wednesday.

Murray is among the notable absentees from this key US Open tune-up. Novak Djokovic is taking off the rest of the season to rehab an elbow injury and US Open champion Stan Wawrinka has ended his 2017 campaign with a knee problem.

Murray is trying to recover from a nagging hip injury in time for the final Grand Slam of the season that starts later this month in Flushing Meadows.

Lepchenko stuns Ostapenko

Qualifier Varvara Lepchenko shocked the reigning Roland Garros champion while 37-year-old Venus Williams got off to another shaky start in the opening round of the women’s Rogers Cup in Toronto on Monday.

Lepchenko rallied to stun French Open winner Jelena Ostapenko 1-6, 7-6 (7/2), 7-6 (7/5). Ninth seeded Williams also needed three sets and close to two hours to eliminate qualifier Irina-Camelia Begu 6-1, 3-6, 6-3.

Important results (first round):

At Montreal: Nick Kyrgios bt Viktor Troicki 6-1, 6-2; Gael Monfils bt Steve Johnson 2-6, 7-6(1), 6-1; Juan Martin del Potro bt John Isner 7-5, 7-5; Roberto Bautista Agut bt Tim Smyczek 7-6(4), 6-1; Richard Gasquet bt Brayden Schnur 7-6(5), 5-7, 6-1.

At Toronto: Petra Kvitova bt Carla Suarez Navarro 6-1, 7-6(5); Dominika Cibulkova bt Lesia Tsurenko 7-6(3), 6-4; Varvara Lepchenko bt Jelena Ostapenko 1-6, 7-6(2), 7-6(5); Barbora Zahlavova Strycova bt Kristina Mladenovic 6-2, 6-3; Venus Williams bt Irina Begu 6-1, 3-6, 6-3.

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