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Nakashima edges out Vesely to reach second round at Sydney Classic

American Brandon Nakashima edged Czech qualifier Jiri Vesely 7-6(2), 7-6(0) to reach the second round at the Sydney Tennis Classic. Photo: ATP
American Brandon Nakashima edged Czech qualifier Jiri Vesely 7-6(2), 7-6(0) to reach the second round at the Sydney Tennis Classic. Photo: ATP

Sydney, Jan 11 (MNN) American Brandon Nakashima earned his maiden tour-level win on Australian soil on Tuesday as he edged Czech qualifier Jiri Vesely 7-6(2), 7-6(0) to reach the second round at the Sydney Tennis Classic.

The world number 68 Nakashima, who enjoyed a standout 2021 season, by advancing to two tour-level finals, fired 12 aces and did not face a break point in the encounter to advance after one hour and 50 minutes.

The 20-year-old now leads Vesely 2-0 in their ATP Head2Head series and next meets seventh seed Fabio Fognini.

Fellow #NextGenATP star Sebastian Baez also booked his spot in the second round, downing Australian Christopher O’Connell 6-2, 1-6, 7-6(4) in two hours and 16 minutes to record his first tour-level win of the season.

The Argentine qualifier, currently at a career-high No. 95 in the ATP Rankings, won 81 per cent (21/26) of his first-serve points and saved two break points at 4-4 in the third set, before triumphing in two hours and 16 minutes. Baez will next face fifth-seeded Italian Lorenzo Sonego.

Sixth seed Dusan Lajovic began his campaign with 7-6(5), 6-4 one-hour, 39-minute victory over Spain’s Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, while Pedro Martinez upset home favourite Alexei Popyrin 6-4, 6-4 in one hour and 33 minutes.

Lajovic next plays Maxime Cressy or Adrian Mannarino, with Martinez taking on third-seeded Briton Daniel Evans.

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