The ABN Amro Open, the first ATP 500 event of the 2023 season, is underway in Rotterdam with their 50th edition.
The tournament features former champions Andrey Rublev, Stan Wawrinka, and Felix Auger-Aliassime, as well as 2022 finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas, who is the top seed, and #NextGenATP player Holger Rune, who is the fourth seed.
The draw also has four Dutch players, the most since 2012, with Dutch No. 1 Botic van de Zandschulp leading the way, as well as Tallon Griekspoor, Tim van Rijthoven, and Gijs Brouwer.
On Centre Court, in the first match of opening day, Stefanos Tsistispas teamed up with his brother Petros in an entertaining encounter with fourth-seeded Heliovarra/Glasspool. The brothers, though, lost 6-3, 6-4.
The second match on Centre Court was a hard-hitting baseline battle between Frenchmen Richard Gasquet and Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta, the seventh seed. Gasquet prevailed 2-6, 7-6(2), 6-2 to advance to the second round.
Photo by Imago
Carreno Busta won the first set convincingly, with penetrating groundstrokes and deft drop shots. It seemed as though he was in full control in the second, leading 4-2, when the momentum changed with Gasquet holding easily and breaking for 4-all.
Gasquet played the tiebreaker brilliantly with outstanding aces down the T and astonishing backhand winners down the line. The Frenchman, arguably, has the most beautiful one-handed backhand on tour.
In the third set, Gasquet broke in the first game and then ran away with the match, holding in the final game at love.
For the match, Gasquet struck 34 winners and 24 unforced errors, while Carreno Busta struck 42 winners and 30 unforced errors. Both players won 92 points.
The Frenchman struck 13 aces, while the Spaniard struck 10 aces. They each won three break points.
Up next for Gasquet is the winner of tonight’s clash between Stan Wawrinka and Alexander Bublik.
In the last singles match of the day session, Grigor Dimitrov, who is making his ninth appearance in Rotterdam and also has a beautiful one-handed backhand, defeated Aslan Karatsev in routine fashion, 6-1, 6-3, in just under an hour. Dimitrov served incredibly well, hitting seven aces and only one double fault. He won 95% of points on his first serve and 61% of points on his second serve.
Dimitrov will next play either fifth-seeded Hubert Hurkacz or Roberto Bautista Agut.