Wednesday’s action on the ATP Tour saw a strong day of action at the Astana Open in Kazakhstan and Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships in Tokyo. The 500 level events are the biggest tournaments to take place since the conclusion of the US Open last month.
No. 5 seed Andy Rublev breezed into the quarterfinals of the Astana Open after he ousted Zhizhen Zhang 6-3, 6-2. Needing 58 minutes to advance, Rublev crushed six aces, won 83 percent of his first serve points and broke the serve of his opponent on three occasions.
Winning three titles on the year, Rublev will next face Adrian Mannarino, who took out David Goffin 3-6, 6-1, 7-5. Goffin had eliminated top seed and reigning US Open winner Carlos Alcaraz in the opening round.
Other results on the betting tracker excel spreadsheet saw Roberto Bautista Agut reach the final eight after he ousted Pavel Kotov 6-1, 7-6(5), while Tel Aviv finalist Marin Cilic and Finnish star Emil Ruusuvuori won their opening round matches against Oscar Otte and Marc-Andrea Huesler, respectively. Huesler had recently won his maiden ATP Tour title in Sofia, Bulgaria last week over 19-year-old Holger Rune.
Over in Tokyo, Soonwoo Kwon advanced to the quarterfinals after he defeated American Mackenzie McDonald 6-3, 6-7(4), 6-2. The hard-fought contest saw Kwon strike six aces, withstand 14 from McDonald, while breaking serve on four occasions. Kwon will next face either Jaume Munar or Pedro Martinez for a place in the semifinals.
Elsewhere, Indian Wells winner Taylor Fritz needed three sets to advance to round two, dismissing James Duckworth 6-2, 6-7(2), 6-1. The top ranked American will next face Hiroki Moriya for a quarterfinal birth. Recent Seoul finalist Denis Shapovalov raced into the second round after he dispatched Steve Johnson 6-3, 7-6(3). The Canadian, who has had a disappointing season overall, will look to end 2022 in good form when he next faces Rio Noguchi.
The final result of the day in Tokyo saw Miomir Kecmanovic defeat Yoshihito Nishioka 2-6, 7-6(1), 6-2. Nishioka had just defeated Shapovalov for the title in Seoul on Sunday.
Thursday’s action at Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships will feature No. 4 seed Frances Tiafoe, No. 5 seed Nick Kyrgios and No. 9 seed Borna Coric all vying for a place in the quarterfinals.
At the Astana Open, Thursday’s action will feature No. 2 seed Daniil Medvedev taking on Ruusuvuori, and Karen Khachanov facing Cilic.
Hall of Famer Novak Djokovic is also in the draw, and will face Cristian Garin on Wednesday. Djokovic, who recently won the title in Tel Aviv, Israel, will be highly motivated to finish the season on top form after not playing on Tour since he captured the Wimbledon Championships.