ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) — Andrey Rublev swept past Vasek Pospisil 6-2, 6-4 at the St. Petersburg Open on Tuesday to win his first match since breaking into the top 10 on the back of strong showings at the U.S. Open and French Open.
The 22-year-old Russian had to rely on his second serve to beat Pospisil after landing just 46 percent of first serves in the opening set. He plays either Ugo Humbert of France or Russian qualifier Pavel Kotov in the second round.
Rublev is seeded third in St. Petersburg and entered the top 10 of the ATP rankings Monday, helped by recent runs to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open and French Open, as well as winning the Hamburg title last month.
There will be an all-Russian second-round match after fourth-seeded Karen Khachanov beat Australian James Duckworth 6-4, 6-4 to set up a meeting with wild card Aslan Karatsev.
Milos Raonic hammered in 21 aces to beat U.S. qualifier J.J. Wolf 7-6 (5), 6-1 in the first round as he started his latest bid to end his near five-year wait for a title.
Raonic had to save five set points at 5-4 down in the first set, and then won the set in the tiebreak on his third set point. The sixth-seeded Canadian plays Alexander Bublik in the second round.
Raonic won the St. Petersburg title in 2015 and another in Brisbane in January 2016. However, he is 0-7 in finals since then, most recently when he lost to Novak Djokovic for the Cincinnati title in August.
Seventh-seeded Borna Coric beat the Spanish veteran Feliciano Lopez 6-3, 7-6 (2).
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