Continuing his love affair with the Hamburg European Open, Russia’s Andrey Rublev beat lucky loser Ricardas Berankis 6-3, 6-4 to reach the second round of the tournament, here on Wednesday.
The second seed Rublev hit through the Lithuanian with his precise and powerful groundstrokes and stepped up his intensity in the key moments to shrug off a second-set Berankis comeback and advance after 73 minutes.
Rublev now holds a 10-2 record at the ATP 500 clay-court event, having advanced to the final in 2019, before he defeated Stefanos Tsitsipas to lift the trophy in his previous appearance in 2020.
“I am happy with my performance. Ricardas is a really tough player. He hits the ball really hard and plays fast, so I had to bring intensity from the first game,” Rublev said in his on-court interview.
“I am really happy with how I was serving today and I hit some great shots from the baseline.The game he broke me in the second set he played really well. He returned really aggressively and I don’t think I made one first serve. But then I kept [my] focus and broke him straight away again,” he added.
With his 32nd tour-level win of the year, the 24-year-old has improved to 3-0 in his ATP Head to Head series against Berankis and will next face Bastad champion Francisco Cerundolo.
Rublev is aiming to win his fourth tour-level title of the season this week in northern Germany. The World No 8 clinched crowns in Marseille, Dubai and Belgrade earlier this year and arrived in Hamburg off the back of a run to the semi-finals on clay in Bastad.
Earlier in the day, Croatian Borna Coric eliminated Dutchman Tallon Griekspoor 6-3, 6-4 to earn consecutive tour-level wins for the first time since March 2021. The 25-year-old, who overcame Laslo Djere in the first round, will play reigning champion Pablo Carreno Busta or Slovakian Alex Molcan in the quarter-finals.
“I am very happy. I played a great match yesterday and today I was performing well. I was serving great and my forehand was working well, so I am very pleased to be here in the quarters,” Coric said in his on-court interview.
Coric missed the majority of last year due to a shoulder injury, but has shown signs of promise recently, winning an ATP Challenger Tour title in Parma last month.