Draper, Shapovalov also advance

#NextGenATP Frenchman Luca Van Assche earned a career milestone Wednesday when he claimed his first ATP Masters 1000 win.

The 19-year-old defeated Pavel Kotov 6-3, 7-5 in one hour and 29 minutes to reach the second round of the Miami Open presented by Itau. The teen will next play seventh seed Casper Ruud.

“I didn't remember that this was my first win in a Masters 1000!” Van Assche told ATPTour.com. “But yeah, it was a good win. It was a good match today with a lot of intensity and I enjoyed my game during the match.”

Van Assche, the No. 80 player in the PIF ATP Rankings, is fresh off a run to the semi-finals of the Phoenix ATP Challenger Tour event. His match sharpness showed, as he saved four of the five break points he faced and converted three of his six opportunities according to Infosys ATP Stats.

The 2023 Next Gen ATP Finals presented by PIF competitor will try to earn his first Top 10 win against Ruud (0-2). Earlier this year, he faced Stefanos Tsitsipas. Last year, he challenged Novak Djokovic, pushing the Serbian star to a deciding set in Belgrade.

“Of course I'm very happy to play against him,” Van Assche said of facing Ruud. “He's an amazing player. He had amazing results in the past and also now. So we will be ready for this match. I'm very excited to play against these kinds of players. I played a lot of good players last year and also this year in Australia, so I'm very excited about this match.”

“I watched him on the television and he has a very good forehand. I think it's his best weapon on the court and he has a very good mentality. He's always positive and he's fighting on every point, so I think those are his two big weapons.”

China's Shang Juncheng added to the #NextGenATP success with a 7-6(5), 4-6, 7-6(5) win against Miomir Kecmanovic later on Wednesday. The 19-year-old wild card, one of seven #NextGenATP stars in the main draw, picked up his second ATP Masters 1000 win after advancing to the Indian Wells second round earlier this month as a qualifier.

Shang hit eight aces and no double faults in the match, according to Infosys ATP Stats, and clinched victory over World No. 46 Kecmanovic after two hours, 46 minutes. Despite converting on just three of his 13 break chances, he produced clutch tennis in the tie-breaks to advance.

Having entered Miami with a career-high PIF ATP Ranking of No. 124, Shang is up 12 places to No. 112 in the PIF ATP Live Rankings this week. He will next meet 27th seed Alejandro Davidovich Fokina on Friday, knowing a win will take him to the brink of the Top 100.

#NextGenATP American Alex Michelsen continued his strong season with a 7-6(5), 6-2 win against Lukas Klein. The 19-year-old, who earned his first ATP Masters 1000 win in Indian Wells, became the youngest American to win a Miami main-draw match since Taylor Fritz and Frances Tiafoe both advanced at age 19 in 2017.

Michelsen has now won six consecutive tour-level openers, dating back to the Australian Open.

"It's funny, I was actually talking to my coach about how I feel like I haven't lost a first round in a while," he told ATPTour.com when informed of that stat. "That definitely gives me some confidence in these first rounds of tournaments. Opening rounds are always hard no matter who you're playing. I'm really glad I could get through this one."

Alex Michelsen
Photo by Mike Lawrence/ATP Tour

Michelsen moved up three places from his current career high to No. 70 in the PIF ATP Live Rankings with the win, in which he converted on five of 10 break points. He will next meet 25th seed Tallon Griekspoor for what will be the pair's first Lexus ATP Head2Head meeting.

"It's pretty wild," he said of his status as a bona fide member of the ATP Tour. "I was playing two 25k's, my last two Futures, at this time last year... and now I'm here."

Martin Damm — another of the tourament-high 13 Americans in the Miami men's singles draw — also used tie-break success to edge past Zhang Zhizhen and earn his first tour-level win. The World No. 204 scored a 7-6(2), 7-6(3) victory on home soil to set up a second-round showdown with 13th seed and Indian Wells semi-finalist Tommy Paul.

The wild card powered in 14 aces and saved four of six break points against him in the milestone win. Damm, 20, is the son of Martin Damm, a Czech former Top 50 player who also reached World No. 5 in the PIF ATP Doubles Rankings.

In other Miami action, Jack Draper served past Taro Daniel 6-3, 6-2 in 70 minutes.

The left-handed Briton hit 10 aces and won 97 per cent of his first-serve points (28/29) to advance to a second-round meeting with 22nd seed Nicolas Jarry.


Denis Shapovalov, a 2019 semi-finalist in Miami, relied on all his experience to squeak past Luciano Darderi 6-3, 6-7(3), 6-4.

The Canadian lefty hit 16 aces and only faced one break point to move on in Florida. Shapovalov will try to find his best form in the next round against 10th seed Stefanos Tsitsipas.

In-form Czech Tomas Machac eliminated 16-year-old American wild card Darwin Blanch 6-4, 6-2 and Italian Flavio Cobolli rallied past lucky loser Yoshihito Nishioka 1-6, 6-1, 6-4.