Two of the top four seeds opened their Argentina Open tournaments on Wednesday, looking to earn a berth in the quarterfinals and climb one step closer to a title.
Nothing is guaranteed in Buenos Aires, however, as one top player learned the hard way. Let's take a look back at the day's results and a look ahead at Thursday's schedule.
Dominic Thiem continued his march through the Argentina Open, knocking off Gastao Elias in three sets on Wednesday.
Thiem controlled the match by winning 75 percent of his first-serve points and 64 percent of his second-serve points. Elias actually earned more break points in the contest (three to two), but Thiem wrestled away momentum in the match after winning the second-set tiebreaker.
It was a devastating loss for Elias in that regard, as he was trying to reach his first-ever ATP quarterfinal, per the Associated press (via ESPN.com). It was a show of resilience from the young Thiem—the youngest player ranked in the top 20 in the ATP rankings at just 22 years of age—as he looks to notch his first title in Argentina.
Nicolas Almagro took another step closer to an Argentina Open title on Wednesday, knocking off Federico Delbonis in three sets.
Almagro improved to 27-9 in Buenos Aires, per the ATP World Tour's website, and is looking to win this tournament for the second time (he also claimed the title in 2011).
Almagro—who climbed as high as No. 9 in the rankings in his career—won 73 percent of his first-serve points, 60 percent of his second-serve points and created 14 break-point opportunities, though he converted just three of them. Delbonis was more efficient in that regard, converting two of the three break points he created, though Almagro largely controlled the match despite dropping the second set.
Shockingly, the No. 4 player in the tournament, John Isner, was upset in his very first match in Buenos Aires, dropping out against Dusan Lajovic in a contest that required tiebreakers in the first and third sets.
Both players controlled the match with their service game. Isner smashed 15 aces and won a whopping 89 percent of his first-serve points, while Lajovic hit a more modest eight aces but still won 80 percent of his first-serve points.
Unusually, Isner lost without facing a single break point, losing the first set in a 12-10 tiebreaker and losing the third set in an 8-6 tiebreaker. Isner actually won more points overall (114-107) as well.
The favored American had just one break conversion in six chances, however, so he'll surely feel as though Wednesday's loss was a missed opportunity.
Despite Jo-Wilfried Tsonga's easy 6-1, 6-2 victory over Leonardo Mayer, there was only one combined ace between the two of players.
It went to Tsonga, but only notching one ace doesn’t mean he struggled with the serve. He won 73 percent of his first-service points and didn’t allow a single break game from Mayer. What’s more, Tsonga was even more impressive on the second serve, where he won 93 percent (13-of-14) of the points.
Mayer was completely overmatched when Tsonga served, and he didn’t help himself much when it was his turn to dictate the tempo. Mayer only won 50 percent of his first-service points and 46 percent of his second-service points, and also only saved two-of-six break points.
There was little doubt who the better player was Wednesday, and Tsonga took care of business in straight sets.
Thursday Matchups and Schedule
The two top seeds in the Argentina Open, Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer, will finally open their tournaments on Thursday. No. 8 Pablo Cuevas will open the day against Santiago Giraldo at noon ET, followed by a matchup between No. 2 Ferrer and Renzo Olivo.
Paolo Lorenzi will then take on Diego Schwartzman no earlier than 4:45 p.m. ET, followed by No. 1 Nadal taking on veteran Juan Monaco.
The nightcap will certainly be the day's highlighted event. Nadal is looking to get back on track after getting knocked out of this year's Australian Open in the first round. He is the defending champion in Buenos Aires, though Monaco will present a challenge in Nadal's return to action.