The first day of the Houston Open 2023 saw some thrilling matches and surprising results. Here are some of the highlights from Monday’s action.
Verdasco Battles Kubler
One of the most anticipated matches of the day was between former world No. 7 Fernando Verdasco and Australian qualifier Jason Kubler. The two players had never met before, but both had shown impressive form in recent weeks.
Verdasco, who reached the quarterfinals in Miami, was looking to continue his resurgence after a slump in 2022. Kubler, who had to overcome three rounds of qualifying, was hoping to repeat his stunning run to the final in Delray Beach last month.
The match lived up to the expectations, as both players displayed their powerful baseline game and fought for every point. Verdasco took the first set 6-4 with a single break of serve, but Kubler bounced back in the second set, breaking Verdasco twice to level the match at 6-3.
The third set was a tense affair, with both players holding their serve until 5-5. Verdasco then raised his level and broke Kubler with a forehand winner, before serving out the match at 6-4, 3-6, 7-5.
Verdasco showed his experience and composure in the crucial moments, hitting 12 aces and winning 75% of his first serve points. Kubler gave a valiant effort, but could not convert his four break points in the final set.
Verdasco will face American wild card Mackenzie McDonald in the second round, while Kubler will look to build on his promising performance.
Johnson & Galan In Action
Two other notable matches of the day featured former champion Steve Johnson and rising star Daniel Elahi Galan. Johnson, who won the title in Houston in 2018 and 2019, faced a tough challenge from Brazilian Thiago Monteiro, who had reached the semifinals in Santiago last week.
Johnson started strongly, breaking Monteiro twice to take the first set 6-2. However, Monteiro fought back in the second set, breaking Johnson three times to force a decider at 6-3. The third set was a tight contest, with both players holding their serve until 6-6.
In the tiebreak, Johnson showed his experience and nerve, winning it 7-4 to seal the victory at 6-2, 3-6, 7-6(4).
Johnson was pleased with his performance, especially his serve, which he hit 16 aces with. He also praised Monteiro for his resilience and quality. Johnson will face another Brazilian in the second round, Rogerio Dutra Silva, who defeated American qualifier Ernesto Escobedo in straight sets.
Galan, who had reached his first ATP final in Los Cabos last year, faced a tricky opponent in Italian veteran Andreas Seppi. Galan had beaten Seppi in their only previous meeting in Acapulco this year, but Seppi was looking for revenge.
The match was a close affair, with both players trading breaks in the first set. Galan managed to edge it 7-5 with a late break of serve. The second set was even tighter, with neither player giving an inch on their serve. The set went to a tiebreak, where Galan showed his confidence and aggression, winning it 7-3 to clinch the match at 7-5, 7-6(3).
Galan was happy with his win, saying that he played with patience and consistency against a tough opponent. He also said that he enjoyed playing on clay, which suited his game style. Galan will face another Italian in the second round, Lorenzo Sonego, who defeated American wild card Jenson Brooksby in three sets.
Final Thoughts: Thrilling Matches and Surprising Results at the Houston Open 2023
The first day of the Houston Open 2023 was filled with exciting tennis matches and unexpected outcomes. From the battle between Verdasco and Kubler to the triumph of Johnson and Galan, the day was packed with thrilling moments that kept the audience on the edge of their seats.
Verdasco and Kubler’s match was a spectacle of power and finesse, as both players showcased their skills and tenacity on the court. Verdasco’s experience and composure ultimately prevailed, but Kubler’s valiant effort demonstrated his potential as a rising star in the tennis world.
Johnson’s victory over Monteiro was a testament to his resilience and adaptability, as he overcame a tough challenge from a talented opponent. Galan’s win over Seppi was equally impressive, as he displayed patience and consistency in a tight match that could have gone either way.
Overall, the first day of the Houston Open 2023 was a great start to the tournament, with plenty of excitement and surprises. It’s a reminder that in tennis, anything can happen, and every player has the potential to rise to the occasion.