After emerging on the winning end of a 19-minute tiebreaker in the first set, Taylor Fritz moved quickly to dispatch Jiri Lehecka in the first round of the Western & Southern Open on Tuesday in Mason, Ohio.
Fritz, seeded ninth, defeated Lehecka of the Czech Republic 7-6 (14), 6-2 in one hour and 45 minutes at the Cincinnati-area event.
Lehecka committed one more double fault than Fritz (7-6), including one that decided the tiebreaker after the American saved five set points.
Fritz had to deal with both Lehecka and a fast court on a hot day.
“It was probably as hard as I had, just putting the ball into court,” Fritz said. “The courts are fast and bouncy … everything wants to fly and on top of that, everything is super windy. I was just trying to put the ball in court.
“I just had to feel it out at the beginning. As much as I wanted to pull the trigger on big points, if it is not there, it is not there, so you have to do what you feel comfortable and hit the ball you feel you can make under pressure.”
A quarterfinalist at this event in 2022, Fritz is 29-8 this year on hard courts, including tournament crowns in Delray Beach, Fla., and Atlanta.
On Tuesday, Fritz won 75.7 percent of his first-serve points (28 of 37), to 59.6 percent for Lehecka (31 of 52). Fritz converted 3 of 10 break points, to 1 of 4 for his opponent.
In another match completed Tuesday, reigning champion Borna Corcic downed American Sebastian Korda 7-6 (5), 6-4 in a match that began Monday but stopped by rain with the 15th-seeded Croatian ahead 7-6 (5), 4-3.
A similar schedule befell Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland in his 6-3, 6-7 (5), 6-3 victory over American Brandon Nakashima played between Monday and Tuesday.
American No. 14 seed Tommy Paul, who reached the semifinals last week in Toronto, defeated Serbia’s Miomir Kecmanovic 7-5, 7-6 (2) in one hour and 54 minutes.
Alexander Zverev, seeded 16th, won a battle between former Cincinnati champions, beating Grigor Dimitrov 6-2, 6-2. Zverev won the event in 2021, Dimitrov in 2017.
“Grigor has a big serve and is dangerous. He can play very aggressively,” Zverev said. “You have to be there (in the match) from start to finish and focus on yourself. That’s what I did and I’m happy.”
Gael Monfils of France eliminated 13th seed Cameron Norrie of Great Britain 3-6, 6-4, 6-3; Lorenzo Musetti of Italy ousted Daniel Evans of Great Britain 6-4, 6-3; and Ugo Humbert of France defeated countryman Arthur Fils 6-4, 3-6, 6-2.
Alejandro Davidovich Fokina of Spain downed Tomas Martin Etcheverry of Argentina 6-3, 6-3 to advance to a second-round match against Serbian star Novak Djokovic.
In a Round of 32 match slated for Tuesday night, top seed Carlos Alcaraz of Spain faces qualifier Jordan Thompson of Australia.
—Field Level Media
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