08:00 PM GMT June 10, 2019
Entering Monday, #NextGenATP American Frances Tiafoe had struggled against Portuguese No. 1 Joao Sousa, losing to the veteran in last year’s Estoril final and again last month in Rome. But the third time was the charm for the World No. 35.
Tiafoe earned his first FedEx ATP Head2Head win against Sousa 6-2, 7-6(0) to reach the second round of the Libema Open in ‘s-Hertogenbosch. The victory snaps a three-match losing streak for the 21-year-old.
The sixth seed will next face Aussie Jordan Thompson, who rallied past American Tommy Paul 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 in one hour and 42 minutes. The 25-year-old was 1-11 at tour-level in 2018, but he has enjoyed plenty of success this year, moving to 16-11 on the season with his three-set triumph.
Tiafoe defeated Thompson 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 earlier this year at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC in Acapulco. The key in that match was that Tiafoe won 55 per cent of his second-serve return points.
Seventh seed Cristian Garin, who broke through during the clay-court season, advanced with a 6-1, 6-4 victory against qualifier Salvator Caruso. The Chilean previously held an 0-2 record in tour-level grass-court matches.
Next up for Garin is Dutchman Robin Haase, who outlasted #NextGenATP Frenchman 5-7, 7-6(2), 7-6(4) in two hours and 26 minutes. Haase withstood Humbert’s 18 aces, striking 15 aces himself en route to his win.
In the only other singles match of the day, American Taylor Fritz beat wild card Jurij Rodionov 7-6(2), 6-4 in 79 minutes. The World No. 41, who is one spot off his career-high ATP Ranking, will play second seed Borna Coric in the second round.
On the doubles court, top seeds Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo ousted Monaco’s Romain Arneodo and Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert 7-5, 6-2. They will next face Brit Dominic Inglot and American Austin Krajicek, who moved past wild cards Thiemo de Bakker and David Pel by the same score.