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Milos Raonic began his quest for a ninth ATP World Tour title on Wednesday with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Denis Istomin at the Open Parc Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Lyon. In his fourth straight week on European clay, the World No. 6 lost just five of his first service points and hit eight aces in the 81-minute encounter against Istomin, who is now 2-33 lifetime against Top 10 opponents.
Raonic, this year’s Delray Beach and Istanbul runner-up, will now challenge qualifier Gastao Elias, who reached his first ATP World Tour quarter-final of the year when he defeated sixth seed Juan Martin del Potro 7-6(0), 6-4 in one hour and 53 minutes. Elias saved one set point at 5-6, Ad-out in the first set that lasted 67 minutes.
Second seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and third seed and wild card entry Tomas Berdych also compete later today at the ATP World Tour 250 tournament.
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Argentina's Marco Trungelliti started making his way back to the Roland Garros main draw on Tuesday, beating 23rd seed Ruben Bemelmans of Belgium 6-7(5), 6-2, 6-3 to advance to the second round of qualifying in Paris.
Trungelliti, No. 161 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, gained the biggest win of his career last year at Roland Garros. After qualifying, the 5'11” right-hander upset then World-No. 10 Marin Cilic in the first round.
Italian Alessandro Giannessi knocked out home hopeful Calvin Hemery of France 7-5, 6-3. German Tobias Kamke converted three of four break points to beat American Rajeev Ram 2-6, 7-5, 6-3.
Serbia's Filip Krajinovic advanced past Australia's Sam Groth 3-6, 7-6(3), 6-2. Slovakia's Jozef Kovalik, who beat Cilic earlier this year in Chennai, moved into the second round of qualifying when Igor Sijsling of the Netherlands retired down 4-6.
Second seed Kei Nishikori improved to 7-0 in his FedEx ATP Head2Head series with Kazakhstan's Mikhail Kukushkin on Tuesday, saving both break points to advance 6-4, 6-3 at the Banque Eric Sturdza Geneva Open. “Served really well today I think that's why I played very solid. I think everything was good today,” Nishikori said.
Nishikori, who accepted a late wild card into the ATP World Tour 250 event, is looking to get his clay season going in Switzerland. The World No. 9 fell to Juan Martin del Potro in the third round last week at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome.
Before that ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament, the Japanese right-hander suffered a right wrist injury that kept him out of Barcelona and forced him to withdraw from the Mutua Madrid Open before his quarter-final match. But Nishikori said all is better now. “Physically I think I'm very fit now. So I'm feeling very confident,” Nishikori said.
In the quarter-finals, he will meet South African Kevin Anderson, who advanced past #NextGenATP American Jared Donaldson 6-3, 6-7(7), 6-2.
Fifth seed Steve Johnson stayed perfect on the clay this year, dismissing 37-year-old Frenchman Stephane Robert 6-3, 6-3. The American improved to 5-0 on the red dirt, having won the Fayez Sarofim & Co. US Men's Clay Court Championship title in Houston last month (d. Bellucci). Johnson will next meet Argentine Horacio Zeballos, who prevailed past Serbian Dusan Lajovic 6-4, 0-6, 7-5.
Serbian wild card Janko Tipsarevic beat ninth seed Ryan Harrison 6-4, 7-6(5) and will next play German lucky loser Cedrik-Marcel Stebe, who outlasted countryman Jan-Lennard Struff 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(2) in two hours and 16 minutes. The 32-year-old Tipsarevic improved to 2-3 on the ATP World Tour but is 20-0 with four titles on the ATP Challenger Tour this season.
Sixth seed Juan Martin del Potro remained perfect this year against opponents ranked outside the Top 6 of the Emirates ATP Rankings on Tuesday at the Open Parc Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Lyon.
The Argentine broke lucky loser Quentin Halys of France four times to advance 7-5, 6-4 in one hour and 36 minutes. Del Potro was aced 12 times but won 80 per cent of his first-serve points (35/44) and saved three of four break points against the 20-year-old #NextGenATP Frenchman during their first FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting.
“He surprised me with his level but I survived, and I am looking forward to playing tomorrow,” said del Potro, who will next face Portuguese qualifier Gastao Elias. “[Lyon] is a magnificent city. I had the chance to walk around and it is really beautiful. I hope to stay many more days here.”
The 6'6" del Potro improves to 5-1 on clay this season, following his quarter-final run last week at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome (l. to Djokovic). Overall, del Potro, No. 30 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, is 11-5 on the year, with his handful of losses coming against Top 6 opponents – Federer, Raonic and three defeats against Djokovic.
Brit Kyle Edmund will face fifth seed Gilles Simon after coming back from a set down to advance past Brazil's Thiago Monteiro 2-6, 6-4, 6-1. Edmund and Simon have split their two FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings, with the 22-year-old Edmund taking their most recent contest last June at The Queen's Club in London.
#NextGenATP Russian Karen Khachanov won nearly 70 per cent of his second-serve return points to advance past Argentina's Renzo Olivo 6-2, 6-4. Khachanov will next meet Aussie Jordan Thompson.
Argentine qualifier Nicolas Kicker earned the biggest win of his career, upsetting fourth seed Nick Kyrgios 2-6, 6-4, 6-2 in one hour and 36 minutes to advance to the quarter-finals. Kyrgios was playing in his first match since falling to Rafael Nadal in the third round of the Mutua Madrid Open. The 22-year-old Aussie didn't play last week in Rome because of a hip injury.
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