Roberto Bautista Agut held off late resistance from Taro Daniel to record a straight-set opener at the Mallorca Championships on Monday and set up a potential second-round blockbuster against Nick Kyrgios at the ATP 250 event.
The fifth seed was broken as she served for the match in the second set before picking up six straight points in the tie-break to recover from a 1/4 deficit and win 6-4, 7-6 (4) against Daniel in Spain.
Bautista Agut reached the quarter-finals in the inaugural edition of the Mallorca event in 2021, when he fell to eventual runner-up Sam Querrey. Kyrgios or Laslo Djere, who play their first-round match on Tuesday, will stand in their way of matching this run this year.
The Spaniard is looking to build on many past successes on grass – he won the first of his 10 tour-level titles on the surface at ‘s-Hertogenbosch in 2014 and reached the semi-finals at Wimbledon in 2019.
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Also on Monday, Ilya Ivashka cruised to a comprehensive 6-4, 6-1 win over Emil Ruusuvuori to book a second-round encounter with second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Ivashka’s first-round victory at the ATP 250 event in Spain came on a day when he rose to a career-high 40th in Pepperstone’s ATP rankings. The 28-year-old celebrated with a clinical performance against Ruusuvuori, breaking the Finn’s serve four times in an 88-minute win to extend his lead in the duo’s ATP Head2Head series to 5-0.
Tsitsipas and Ivashka’s previous two encounters at tour level both came in 2022. The Greek picked up a straight-set victory on hard court in Rotterdam in February and backed that up with a three-set triumph on clay beaten in Barcelona in April.
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Tallon Griekspoor has won three straight first-round victories on grass with a hard-fought 7-6(3), 7-6(3) triumph over domestic joker Feliciano Lopez. Griekspoor fell in the second round at ‘s-Hertogenbosch and Halle, but the world No. 53 will look to go further than Mallorca in a second-round clash against Alex Molcan. The pair meet for a second week in a row – Molcan was the man Griekspoor beat in Halle.
Third-seeded Denis Shapovalov’s opening opponent in Mallorca was also set on Monday. Benjamin Bonzi advanced to the second round after Chilean qualifier Alejandro Tabilo dropped out, the Frenchman leading 6-3, 4-2. This will be a first tour-level meeting for Shapovalov and Bonzi at a tournament where the two appear for the first time.
In Monday’s other first-round clash, Swiss qualifier Antoine Bellier picked up the second round-level win of his career with a 6-3, 7-6(6) win over Federico Delbonis.