Kei Nishikori and Marin Cilic both took care of business during the opening day of the 2016 Swiss Indoors Basel on Monday, winning their first-round matches in straight sets.
Nishikori overcame an early injury scare to beat Dusan Lajovic, and Cilic had his hands full with defensive mastermind Mikhail Youzhny. Qualifier Donald Young won in straight sets against Ukraine's Illya Marchenko, and Federico Delbonis beat Andrey Kuznetsov.
Top seed Stanislas Wawrinka will be in action on Tuesday. Here's a look at Monday's results:
|Swiss Indoors Basel Results|
|Kei Nishikori (3)||7-5, 6-1||Dusan Lajovic|
|Marin Cilic (4)||6-4, 6-2||Mikhail Youzhny|
|Donald Young (Q)||6-4, 6-2||Illya Marchenko|
|Federico Delbonis||6-4, 6-4||Andrey Kuznetsov|
To access the full draw and updated schedule, visit the event's official website.
As Record's Jose Morgado reported, the absence of top stars Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal didn't keep the fans away in Basel:
Nishikori struggled to get off the mark in the first set against Lajovic, who showed his defensive prowess in the longer rallies and did plenty of damage with his backhand.
The Japanese ace gave his fans a slight scare when he seemed to roll his ankle while reaching for a shot on the base line, but he was able to walk it off and soon started to press his advantage.
The two split the first 10 games, but Nishikori shifted gears at the right time to gain an advantage at the end of the first set. As TennisTV shared, it was his vaunted defence that made the difference:
Lajovic regressed in the second set, and the third-seeded Nishikori started playing more attacking tennis, showing his form is peaking at just the right time. The 26-year-old is one of the favourites for the title, and any momentum gained in Switzerland will come in handy once the ATP World Tour Finals start.
Cilic had to dig deep in the first set against Youzhny, but the powerful Croat made the difference with his serve and kept his Finals bid on track. The 28-year-old needs a big result in Basel to have any chance of qualifying, and he faced a tricky first-round matchup against the in-form Youzhny.
The Russian has done a fantastic job of rebuilding his ranking in 2016, but Cilic clearly outgunned him, and Youzhny grew fatigued in the second set.
Delbonis predictably beat Kuznetsov, wasting little energy on his way to the second round, while Young put together a superb showing against Marchenko.
Swiss favourite and top seed Wawrinka will face compatriot Marco Chiudinelli on Tuesday.