The National Bank Open is underway in Toronto as the ATP Tour makes its next stop on the Masters 1000 calendar. Former Wimbledon finalist Matteo Berrettini, unseeded this week as he continues his comeback, was among the big winners on day one. Berrettini cruised past the Frenchman Gregoire Barrere 6-4, 6-3. This is somewhat surprisingly the first appearance in Toronto for Berrettini.
His win sets up a massive all-Italian affair in the next round with No. 7 seed Jannik Sinner. That match would typically be occurring much later in an event like this. Unlucky circumstance for Sinner.
The second Italian winner on Monday was Lorenzo Musetti. He worked his way past Yoshihito Nishioka 6-4, 6-1 to book his place in the 2nd round. Musetti, the 16-seed this week, fought through a rain delay and committed only 3 unforced errors. It was truly an efficient performance and just what you want to begin a massive event like this one.
Matteo Berrettini cruises on Day 1 of National Bank Open
In what many thought could have been the match of the day beforehand, the heavy-hitting Pole and 15-seed Hubert Hurkacz defeated the enigmatic Alexander Bublik 6-3, 7-6 (2). It was a nice bounce-back effort after he was upset in his 1st match in D.C. last week.
Gael Monfils outlasted Christopher Eubanks in a very entertaining 3-set battle. The 7-6 (3), 6-7 (4), 6-1 score was a reflection of this. Eubanks saved two match points late in the 2nd to force the deciding set. However, it was the vintage Monfils defense that proved to be too much in the end.
Monfils gets to face World No. 4 Stefanos Tsitispas in the next round. That match has the potential to steal the show as well with how well both men move on the court.
Two more Americans were knocked out as J.J. Wolf and Brandon Nakashima were eliminated on Monday. Wolf only won 2 games whereas Nakashima lost a 3rd set tiebreak.
Hometown favorite Milos Raonic battled past No. 9 seed Frances Tiafoe in a wonderfully entertaining match 6-7 (12), 7-6 (4), 6-3. The first set tiebreak on its own lasted nearly 20 minutes as both men refused to give an inch. Tiafoe’s scintillating shot-making was on full display but he simply had no answer for the massive serve from the Canadian.
Raonic, currently World No. 545 as he claws back from various injuries, put on an elite serving display with an incredible 37 aces. He blasted a few of them over 140 mph. It’s good to see all his injuries have not lessened his massive power.
One American that fared well in the Canadian night was Tommy Paul who defeated former Top 10 player Diego Schwartzman 6-3, 3-6, 6-4. Paul only put 48 percent of his first serves in during the match, but when he did he was able to win 81% of those. Paul faces the Argentine Francisco Cerundolo in the next round. Cerundolo dispatched the Canadian wild card Alexis Galarneau in 3 sets.
It was an enthralling opening day of tennis at the National Bank Open with plenty more action still to come.