Third seed Matteo Berrettini overcame an early challenge from qualifier Alexei Popyrin for a second-round berth at the Erste Bank Open on Monday.
One of six Italians in the main draw, Berrettini secured a clash against BNP Paribas Open finalist Nikoloz Basilashvili following his 7-6(3), 6-3 victory over the Australian. Basilashvili earlier scored a three-set winner over Pablo Carreno Busta.
It was Berrettini’s second ATP Head2Head win against the 22-year-old Popyrin after a tight four-set triumph in the third round of the 2019 US Open. Both finished with 20 winners, but Popyrin’s 22 unforced errors were eight more than the third seed committed.
There were no breaks of serve before the sixth game of the second set when Berrettini strengthened his grip on the match for 4-2. He sustained the advantage and closed out the 95-minute contest on his fifth ace.
In a dominant day on serve, he won 79 per cent of first-serve points and 70 per cent on second serves. He never faced a break point.