Aslan Karatsev became the third player to reach 20 wins this season on Monday with a 7-6(2), 6-4 victory against Miomir Kecmanovic at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome.
Karatsev dropped just seven points behind his first serve (31/38) and saved two of the three break points he faced to advance after one hour and 42 minutes. The Russian holds a 7-3 record on clay this season, highlighted by his run to the Serbia Open final (l to Berrettini).
The Dubai champion has joined FedEx ATP Race To Turin leader Stefanos Tsitsipas and Monte-Carlo runner-up Andrey Rublev on the list of players to achieve 20 or more wins this year. Tsitsipas and Rublev are tied at the top of the leaderboard with identical 27-7 records in 2021.
2021 ATP Tour Wins Leaderboard
Later in the day, Jannik Sinner moved past Ugo Humbert 6-2, 6-4 to match Karatsev’s win total. Alexander Bublik will attempt to become the fifth man to achieve 20 wins this year, when he meets Marin Cilic in the final match of the day on Pietrangeli.
Karatsev will face ATP Cup teammate and third seed Daniil Medvedev in the second round. The 27-year-old owns a 4-3 record against Top 10 opposition this year, which includes his three-hour, 26-minute semi-final victory against World No. 1 Novak Djokovic last month in Belgrade.
Cristian Garin built on his quarter-final run in Madrid with a 7-5, 6-2 victory against Lloyd Harris. The Chilean claimed four service breaks to advance to the second round after one hour and 37 minutes. Garin, who owns a 10-5 record on clay this year, will next face 10th seed Roberto Bautista Agut or Tommy Paul.
Federico Delbonis joined Garin in the second round with a 3-6, 6-4, 6-0 comeback victory against Karen Khachanov. The Argentine qualifier won all eight second-serve return points he played in the decider to book a meeting with 12th seed David Goffin.