Stefanos Tsitsipas opened his title bid at the Hamburg European Open on a sunny Wednesday in Northern Germany with a comfortable 6-3, 6-1 first-round win over Briton Daniel Evans. The No. 2 seed from Greece saved the only break point he faced and capitalized on four of his own five break point chances to finish the encounter in just under one hour of play.
“It’s very satisfying to be playing that level of tennis, as I’ve missed playing on clay,” Tsitsipas told Barbara Schett in his on-court interview. “It helps for my confidence. I’ve watched this tournament on TV since I was very young, and I’m delighted to have gotten off to a strong start.”
Tsitsipas is in Hamburg for the first time. While maintaining safety measures, including social distancing, he made a car tour around the city’s harbour, stopping at the Elbe riverbank, which overlooks the Elbphilharmonie, a concert hall, situated in the HafenCity quarter of Hamburg.
“Hamburg is a beautiful city with many things to offer,” Tsitsipas said. “I’ve been to Germany when I was playing Tennis Europe junior events, but I’ve never been to Hamburg. People are very friendly. The place is peaceful and enjoyable.”
Tsitsipas will next take on qualifier Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay, who finished runner-up here four years ago.
Bublik entertains crowd
Alexander Bublik dominated his second-round match against #NextGenATP Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime. The lucky loser from Kazakhstan impressed with a variety of his shots, including an underarm serve in the first set, to prevail 6-4, 6-2 in one hour and 18 minutes.
“When you step on a clay-court, which is not my favourite surface, taking on a great player like Felix, there is a little pressure,” said Bublik. “He started pretty well and fast. I had to find my rhythm and I am happy to be through.”
Asked about his special service tactic, Bublik responded with a smile on his face:
“Sometimes it just pops into my mind. It can be on set point and I do it for some reason. I don’t know why. Last year, I was told to be more serious but with my new coach we decided to work on it. Now it is going very well, and I served a couple of aces over the last matches.”
Up next for Bublik will be Cristian Garin of Chile, who defeated local wild card entry Yannick Hanfmann 6-2, 7-6(3) in one hour and 37 matches.
“I think I have raised my level this week. I couldn’t really find my rhythm last week. I feel better now, more focused,” said Garin, who has played his first match in front of a crowd since the re-start of the tour.
“I’m very happy about that. It feels very different. It is another atmosphere. I like it, as spectators make it special.”
Elsewhere, Andrey Rublev edged past US-American qualifier Tommy Paul, winning 6-1, 3-6, 6-2. The No. 8 seed from Russia will next oppose Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain, who defeated Dominik Koepfer, the last German in the singles draw, by the score of 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.