Diego Schwartzman, young Frenchmen win in Shanghai

League: Tennis

Posted on: 05 Oct, 2023 at 06:59 PM

Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Former World No. 8 Diego Schwartzman, who has struggled mightily this season, topped Luca Van Assche of France 5-7, 6-3, 6-2 on Thursday in opening-round play at the Shanghai Masters.

Schwartzman, from Argentina, moved to 10-22 on the season. He broke Van Assche's serve seven times in 10 chances over the 2-hour, 49-minute match and will face 27th seed Jiri Lehecka of the Czech Republic in the next round.

Another up-and-coming Frenchman, Arthur Fils, delivered an easy win, topping Pavel Kotov of Russia 6-1, 6-4 in 79 minutes. The 19-year-old Fils struck 25 winners compared to nine for Kotov.

"(I'm delighted) because I played against a great opponent," Fils said. "I've known him a long time, he plays great. I was pretty happy with my first set, and my second set was good also. He played some great points and great games so he came back a little bit, but at the end I finished the match in a good position, so I'm really happy about it."

The ATP Tour is in Shanghai for the first time since 2019 as the pandemic caused cancellation of the tournament in the following three years.

Nineteen of the top 20 players in the rankings are in the field, including Carlos Alcaraz of Spain, Russian Daniil Medvedev and Holger Rune of Denmark, who are the top three seeds.

Also Thursday, another player from France, 21-year-old qualifier Terence Atmane, made his debut in a Masters 1000 event one to remember with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 win against Jordan Thompson of Australia. Atmane debuted on the tour just two weeks ago in the ATP 250 event in Zhuhai, losing in the first round to Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan.

Atmane relied on 30 winners to advance to a second-round meeting with Nicolas Jarry of Chile, the No. 22 seed.

Also winning Thursday were Gregoire Barrere and Quentin Halys of France; Australians Aleksandar Vukic and Rinky Hijikata; American J.J. Wolf; Lorenzo Sonego and Matteo Arnaldi of Italy; Taiwan's Chun Hsin Tseng; Mikhail Kukushkin and Beibit Zhukayev, both of Kazakhstan; Botic Van de Zandschulp of the Netherlands; Yosuke Watanuki of Japan; and Sebastian Ofner of Austria.

--Field Level Media