Evans Cruises Through Opener
The Monaco air brings out the best in Briton Daniel Evans.
The World No. 27 soared to his first ATP Masters 1000 semi-final at the 2021 Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters, upsetting World No. 1 Novak Djokovic and Pole Hubert Hurkacz en route.
One year on and Evans once again found the winning formula at the clay-court event, moving past Frenchman Benjamin Bonzi 6-0, 7-6(4) on Tuesday to reach the second round.
The 29-year-old won 100 per cent (9/9) of his first-serve points in the first set as he dictated from the baseline, before he showed his fighting spirit in the second set, rallying from 1-4 to eventually advance after one hour and 40 minutes.
With his victory, Evans has snapped a three-match losing streak and now leads lucky loser Bonzi 1-0 in their ATP Head2Head series. He will next face either top seed Djokovic in a rematch from last season or Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.
Evans has recorded some impressive results so far in 2022, earning ATP Cup wins against Canadian Denis Shapovalov and American John Isner and advancing to the semi-finals at the Sydney Tennis Classic.
Bonzi was making his debut at the Monte-Carlo Country Club and arrived high in confidence, having captured the seventh ATP Challenger Tour of his career in Cherbourg earlier this season.
The sigh of relief Taylor Fritz let out as he waved to the fans on Tuesday afternoon said it all.
Despite trailing by a break in the third set against Monagesque wild card Lucas Catarina, the World No. 430, Fritz rallied for a 6-7(6), 7-6(5), 6-4 victory to reach the second round of the Rolex Monte Carlo Masters. The American will next play former World No. 3 Marin Cilic, who eliminated Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on Monday.
Fritz is enjoying the best season of his career, having just lifted his first ATP Masters 1000 title in March at the BNP Paribas Open. The 10th seed, who is making his third appearance in the Principality, earned seven service breaks in his two-hour, 40-minute triumph.
Catarina played inspired tennis on home soil to take a 4-2 lead in the decider, but Fritz never panicked and used his big forehand to great effect in the big moments. The 24-year-old is now 18-6 on the season.
Also on Tuesday, Spaniard Pedro Martinez battled past Ugo Humbert to reach the second round in Monte Carlo for the first time.
The World No. 45, who clinched the first tour-level title of his career on clay in Santiago in February, carved out 15 break point opportunities against his French opponent, converting six of them to secure a 6-4, 7-6(5) victory in the pair’s first ATP Head2Head meeting.
Martinez now faces another player for the first time, 11th seed Hubert Hurkacz, in his next match.
The 16th seed Lorenzo Sonego snapped a five-match losing streak by overcoming World No. 44 Ilya Ivashka 6-3, 6-3. The Italian reached the quarter-finals in Monte-Carlo in 2019 and got this year’s campaign off to a solid start, striking 25 winners to his opponent’s 15 to seal victory in 89 minutes on Court des Princes.
The match was Ivashka’s first since suffering a broken wrist in February, and despite a strong effort he was unable to stop World No. 26 Sonego booking a second-round spot.
The Italian’s next opponent will be Laslo Djere, after the World No. 62 overcame Maxime Cressy in a two-hour, 24-minute battle to notch a first win in Monte-Carlo in his third appearance at the event.
Despite Cressy amassing 38 winners and leveling the match by taking a dramatic second-set tie-break 9/7, two-time ATP Tour titlist Djere used all his clay-court experience to break twice at the tail end of the deciding set and clinch at 6-4, 6-7(7), 6-2 win.
His second-round clash with Sonego will be the pair’s fifth tour-level meeting. The Italian leads Djere 3-1 in their ATP Head2Head series, with Sonego winning the most recent of those meetings 6-2, 6-0 in Rio in February.