Lleyton Hewitt and Sam Querrey booked spots in the second round of the Western & Southern Open on Sunday. Qualifying action also wrapped up, with Benoit Paire among those who secured places in the main draw.
Benoit Paire earned a place in the main draw with a dominant 6-2, 6-2 victory over Blaz Rola on Sunday afternoon. For a Paire match, it was an uneventful encounter that was mostly incident-free. His only real outburst came on what looked like a botched line call late in the first set. Rola, meanwhile, eventually snagged a spot in the field of 56 as a lucky loser when Richard Gasquet withdrew.
Paire’s girlfriend, Pauline, was on hand from start to finish and she was joined by Edouard Roger-Vasselin and some others early in the second set.
Tim Smyczek appeared to be on his way to the main draw when he led by a break in the first set over underdog Chase Buchanan. Smyczek, though, was clearly under the weather and had nowhere near enough in the tank to finish the job. He actually battled back from a break down in the second, but Buchanan–a former Ohio State Buckeye who enjoyed great crowd support–prevailed 6-4, 7-6(4).
Lleyton Hewitt was the first man through to the second one after getting past Jurgen Melzer 3-6, 6-4, 6-4. Hewitt played abysmal tennis for one and a half sets, giving his opponent several chances to cross the finish line. Melzer, who squandered all five of his break-point opportunities in the second set, could not convert. Given new life, Hewitt raised his level late in the second and maintained it throughout the third. The two veterans combined for 21 aces (Hewitt 11, Melzer 10) and 15 double-faults (Hewitt eight, Melzer seven).
Practice-court action included Hewitt, a set between Dominic Thiem and Steve Johnson, and a set between Ernests Gulbis and Tomas Berdych.
Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic held their pre-tournament press conferences on Sunday afternoon. When asked about keeping in touch with coach Amelie Mauresmo when she is not present at a tournament, Murray said he prefers to talk on the phone as opposed to chatting online. “Her spelling’s not that great,” the Scot quipped.
Djokovic has never won the title in Cincinnati. It is the only Masters 1000 trophy that has eluded the four-time runner-up. “That obviously adds more importance for this tournament,” Djokovic assured. “I do care to win this title a lot. I haven’t been really close in those four finals. I haven’t been able to perform my best when it’s been needed in this tournament. Hopefully I can go a step further this time, but I haven’t been playing as well as I wanted. These couples days I put a lot of hours on the practice courts, trying to upgrade my game to have a chance to go far in the tournament.”