Italian teenaged tearaway Jannik Sinner earned a crushing 6-1, 6-2 victory on Tuesday at the ATP event in Cologne, hammering James Duckworth with ease.
Sinner, a wild card entry after withdrawing ill from last week’s St Petersburg tournament, will face off with Pierre Hugues Herbert, who defeated Tennys Sandgren of the US 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.
Sinner took barely an hour to dismantle Aussie Duckworth, the ATP No. 97, with the winner breaking five times.
Meanwhile 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic was struggling after losing his fifth match from his last six, a run of poor form dating to the Rome third round a month ago
The Croatian exited the opening round at this Rhineside city as Steve Johnson came good after five straight losses in the series, humbling the former No. 3 with a 7-6(3), 6-4 scoreline.
“I wouldn’t say (I have) the perfect recipe [to beat] Marin. He’s beaten me five times pretty handily, so I’m just happy to get a win,” Johnson said.
“I changed some things up in the strategy; every day is a new day out here. You have to give it your all.”
No. 40 Croatian powerhouse had Cilic won 12 of 13 sets prior to taking to the court with Johnson, ranked a lowly 71st.
“Marin is an incredible player, he has been for 10, 15 years,” Johnson, who saves three of three break points, said, “To not lose serve against him is goal No. 1. “