Khachanov, Zverev Win Monte-Carlo Openers
Karen Khachanov was made to work at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters on Sunday when the Russian beat Australian wild card Thanasi Kokkinakis 7-5, 6-4 in one hour and 51 minutes.
Khachanov had to bide his time to gain the first service break – missing out on break point chances in the fifth games (three) and ninth games – before winning seven of 11 points. Kokkinakis, making his debut at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament, fought hard but cracked under pressure at 3-3 in the second set. Khachanov, who picked up his second ATP World Tour title at the Open 13 Provence (d. Pouille) in February, will now meet a Frenchman in No. 16 seed Adrian Mannarino or wild card Gilles Simon.
Germany’s Mischa Zverev won his first match at the historic tournament by beating #NextGenATP Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-2, 6-7(4), 6-1 in two hours and 36 minutes. Zverev led by a set and 3-1 before the 17-year-old wild card, with a devastating forehand that delighted the Court Rainier III crowd, found his range to clinch the second set. He will next challenge seventh seed and last year’s semi-finalist Lucas Pouille in the second round.
In the only other main draw match, Russian Daniil Medvedev edged past Marton Fucsovics of Hungary 6-7(4), 6-2, 7-5 and will now play Czech No. 12 seed and 2015 runner-up Tomas Berdych or Kei Nishikori of Japan.
Andreas Seppi, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Pierre-Hugues Herbert, Jeremy Chardy, Dusan Lajovic, Marco Cecchinato and Ilya Ivashka all qualified for the main draw in overcast conditions on Sunday.
Colombians Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah, who are 10-14 in tour-level finals — including a runner-up finish at the Australian Open in January, knocked out Spanish duo Feliciano Lopez and Marc Lopez 6-3, 6-4 in 65 minutes. They will next face second seeds Henri Kontinen and John Peers.
Marseille titlists Raven Klaasen and Michael Venus stormed past Lucas Pouille and Andrey Rublev 6-1, 6-1 in 46 minutes for a second-round meeting against sixth seeds Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau.