Hurkacz dispelled any doubts, if any. There is no question of any deeper crisis. Defeat in Tokyo with Zhizhen Zhang it was rather an accident at work, the result of exhaustion from the previous exhausting tournament in Tokyo, where he won.
There must be a tie-break in Hurkacz’s match
In Basel, he started with a meeting with Lajovic, a tennis player as demanding as the Chinese, ranked 53rd in the ranking, winner of the May tournament in Banja Luka. He won quite confidently, although not spectacularly, but that’s how you win your first matches in ATP tournaments. The most important thing in them is victory, not style.
The first set lasted 48 minutes. It seemed that the Wroclaw native would finish it faster. He was already leading 4:1. He broke his opponent’s serve in the fourth game, using the second break point (Lajovic’s unforced error).
However, the Serb was very determined, and when he felt his chance to outplay Hurkacz during his pass in the seventh game, he fought until the end. He forced the Pole to make mistakes again and again and finally – after the fourth break point – he achieved his goal.
As in the matches of the best Polish tennis player there had to be a tie-break – 56th this season. Experience takes its toll. He played it on his own terms, losing only two points
Hurkacz breaks the Serb twice in the second set
Hurkacz experienced the biggest problems in the second set in the fourth game. He played under a lot of pressure. At that time, Lajović showed courageous tennis, wanting to gain a two-game advantage. The Pole defended two break points. Efficiently. AND gema finished with an impressive service ace. The Serb shook his head in disbelief. At such a moment, such a precise ace could have broken him.
And it was a bit like that. After two games of serving in the seventh, Hurkacz impressed with every play, but especially with the return. Without losing any points, he took the lead 4:3.
He defended himself against losing another game, but on Tuesday he coped very well in crisis situations. He escaped this predicament again. Hurkacz he wasn’t going to wait for his serve. He broke Lajovic once again and defeated the Serb in less than an hour and a half.
Hurkacz – Struff in the second round
For the quarterfinals, Hukracz will fight against Jan-Lennard Struff. The German (27th ATP) is one of the few lower-ranked players who has never lost to a Polish tennis player. They played against each other twice and each time the player from Dortmund came out on top – in 2016 in the Davis Cup and this season in the semi-final of the tournament in Halle.
1st round of the ATP 500 tournament in Basel (prize pool $2,196,000)
Hubert Hurkacz (Poland, 4) – Duszan Lajović (Serbia) 7:6 (2), 6:3