Felix Auger-Aliassime scored the first ATP win of the psot-COVID lockdown as he overwhelmed NIkoloz Basilashvili 6-4, 6-1 in the first round of the Cincinnati Masters on Saturday.
The event, which is being played in a month-long “bio bubble” established at the US Open venue at Flushing Meadows, will precede the Grand Slam, which begins on August 21.
The 20-year-old Canadian who shares and August 8 birthday with Roger Federer, broke the ice for the men’s Tour after more than five months of virus shutdown,
Auger-Aliassime dropped serve twice and in the opening set as well as producing three quick double-faults but was hardly threatened by the Georgian opponent who he beat twice last season.
The 20th-ranked Canadian overcame his early jitters to roll into the second round at the event without fans or media present, winning nine of the last 10 games.
The first set tallied 37 unforced errors between the pair as both shook out the rust in their dormant games.
“I’m the first winner of 2020 part two, post COVID,” Auer-Aliassime said.
“I’m happy to be playing again and to get a win. I felt really good.
“Even though I had some nerves, starting again in different conditions than we are used to, I did the work in the last month and I felt like I had the resources in me to get the win today.”
Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta also moved through with a 7-5, 6-1 thrashing of Serb Dusan Lajovic. Germany’s Jan Lennard Struff defeated Spain-based Australian Alex de Minaur 6-2, 6-4.
In the women’s draw, Briton Heather Watson lost to Bernarda Pera of the US 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 while France’s Kristina Mladenovic defeated Anastasia Sevastova of Latvia 603, 6-4.
Main Photo:- Felix Auger Alliassime wins first round match. Photo Ben Solomon USTA