Frances Tiafoe is not known for his clay-court prowess. But the American looked plenty comfortable on the surface Tuesday in Buenos Aires.
The eighth seed defeated Argentine Facundo Bagnis 6-1, 6-3 with an aggressive, focussed performance to reach the second round of the Argentina Open.
“The focus from start to finish is what I’m really happy about. That’s something that I’m trying to really incorporate. Obviously I have over the years, but really focussing on it this year,” Tiafoe said. “I didn’t really give him a chance to breathe. Every game he earned it.”
This was Tiafoe’s first tour-level win on clay since the 2019 Mutua Madrid Open, where he made the third round. The 23-year-old faced a tough opponent in Bagnis, who advanced to the semi-finals at last week’s Cordoba Open. But Tiafoe overpowered the lefty to triumph after 69 minutes.
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The World No. 62 will next play Spaniard Jaume Munar, who ousted wild card Facundo Diaz Acosta 7-6(5), 6-3. Munar leads Tiafoe 2-0 in their ATP Head2Head series, with one of those meetings coming at the 2018 Next Gen ATP Finals.
“I’ve lost to him twice. He beat me on clay in Barcelona a couple of years ago. He beat me in Milan,” Tiafoe said. “It’s going to be good. I want to beat him.”
Fifth seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas, who made the Cordoba final, overcame a difficult challenge against current junior World No. 1 Holger Vitus Nodskov Rune. The Spaniard defeated the 17-year-old wild card 2-6, 6-4, 6-3 after one hour and 57 minutes.
Qualifier Francisco Cerundolo, the older brother of Cordoba champion Juan Manuel Cerundolo, eliminated countryman Guillermo Coria 6-4, 7-5. Cerundolo will next play third seed Benoit Paire.
Juan Manuel was unable to maintain his momentum from last week. Federico Delbonis beat his fellow Argentine 6-4, 7-6(2).
Did You Know?
Tiafoe won an ATP Challenger Tour event on clay in Parma, Italy last October.