Wimbledon finalist, Italy's Matteo Berrettini, reached the third round of the Western & Southern Open here with a hard-fought 6-7(5), 6-3, 7-5 win over Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas after two hours and 20 minutes here on Wednesday (IST).
Playing in his first match since Wimbledon, the fifth-seeded 25-year-old, who had suffered a thigh injury in the Wimbledon final against Novak Djokovic, used his backhand slice to telling effect in the third set to overcome Ramos-Vinolas.
Berrettini has now won 15 of his past 17 matches and is 33-7 on the season. This year's Belgrade and Queen's Club champion will next play the winner of the match between 12th seed Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada and Tokyo Olympics silver medallist Karen Khachanov of Russia.
Ramos-Vinolas used his heavy spin on his forehand and rarely made unforced errors to unnerve Berrettini and the Italian slammed 25 aces to stay in the game and escape difficult service games.
But at 5-5 in the third set, the Spaniard made several mistakes and missing an easy forehand to lose serve. Berrettini closed out the match in the next game with a forehand drop shot. It was the world No. 8's first victory in Cincinnati.
Earlier, Sebastian Korda continued his impressive 2021 at the Western and Southern Open, beating Serb Laslo Djere 6-4, 6-4 to set up his first meeting with second-seed Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece.
Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov got his campaign here underway with a dominant display as he moved past 13th seed Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain 6-3, 6-4 to snap a three-match losing streak.
The world No. 21, who reached the quarterfinals at the Australian Open in February will next face Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan after the 24-year-old defeated American Marcos Giron 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(5).