Denis Kudla continued his strong grass-court season on Monday with a 6-3, 6-4 victory against Ruben Bemelmans at the Dell Technologies Hall of Fame Open. The American won 88 per cent of first-serve points and broke his Belgian doubles partner three times in the 61-minute match to advance to the second round in Newport for the fourth time.
“It was an awesome match for me. I served really well, high first-serve percentage,” Kudla said. “It’s always tough playing your doubles partner, but someone’s got to win.”
The eighth seed made his first tour-level semi-final since 2015 Atlanta at the Gerry Weber Open, where he tested top seed Roger Federer in a straight-sets defeat. The 25-year-old, who cracked the Top 100 of the ATP Rankings for the first time in nearly two years on 25 June, will next face Indian Ramkumar Ramanathan or a qualifier.
Canadian Vasek Pospisil took a 2-1 lead in his FedEx ATP Head2Head series against home favourite Donald Young, losing just six first-serve points in a 7-6(5), 6-1 victory. The World No. 98 is competing on the Rhode Island grass for the first time since 2013, and will next face recent Nature Valley International champion Mischa Zverev, the second seed.
“It was a tough one, tough conditions. It’s pretty hot,” Pospisil said. “I’ve worked hard this year trying to build my [ATP] Ranking back up, so this is just another little stepping zone just trying to get some confidence for the hard-court season. This will do me really good to get this win. I can really take a lot of positives out of this.”
Aussie Jordan Thompson also advanced on day one, ousting compatriot James Duckworth 6-4, 6-3 in 78 minutes to earn a meeting against top seed Adrian Mannarino, who is pursuing his maiden ATP World Tour title. Tim Smyczek beat fellow American Bjorn Fratangelo 6-3, 2-6, 6-4 to set a clash against fourth seed Matthew Ebden.
Did You Know?
Kudla is now 18-16 on grass courts. His first three ATP World Tour victories came in Newport, reaching the second round in 2010 as a 17-year-old and the quarter-finals in 2011 as an 18-year-old, thanks to a win against the second seed that year, Grigor Dimitrov.