The August humidity was the real opponent on court at the Winston-Salem Open during the first full day of main draw action.
Lucas Pouille did his best to avoid as much of the mugginess as he could, pushing out 39-year-old-Spanish veteran Feliciano Lopez in a tidy 6-1, 6-4 victory. The Frenchman is looking to regain his top-10 form, a ranking he achieved back in 2018. Pouille nearly exited in the second round of qualifying when he faced a match point against American Noah Rubin. Now, he’s set to face wildcard and No. 3 seed Dan Evans as the second match on Stadium Court Tuesday.
Argentinian Frederico Coria did not have such a straightforward afternoon, barely limping over the finish line after a nearly three-hour battle with rising Italian star Lorenzo Musetti. Coria ousted the teenager in a somewhat symmetrical score line of 6-4, 4-6, 6-4. Next he will take on lucky loser Pierre-Hughes Herbert, a former Winston-Salem Open finalist. Herbert is back in the main draw after Nikoloz Basilashvili withdrew with an illness.
Fan-favorite Stevie Johnson exited the tournament early, losing to Australian Alexei Popyrin in straight sets. Johnson showed some signs of fatigue after a long run at the Western and Southern Open where he and partner Austin Krajicek played the doubles final Sunday, falling in two tie-breaker sets. Popyrin’s match tomorrow sees him playing No. 15 seed and teen Spanish star Carlos Alcaraz, who is making his main draw debut in Winston-Salem.
Tuesday’s order of play is filled with seeds from start to finish with No. 1 Pablo Carreno Busta kicking the day off on Stadium Court against Korean standout Soonwoo Kwon. David Goffin, the tournament’s No. 2, will be the nightcap as he faces Thiago Monteiro.
The action in between includes former U.S. Open Champion and World No. 3 Marin Cilic, two veteran French friends and countryman Gilles Simon and Benoit Paire, and the much-anticipated matchup between Andy Murray and Frances Tiafoe.
Murray and Tiafoe are the featured primetime match, beginning at 7 p.m. Murray took their only previous meeting in three sets last year at the Western and Southern Open, played in New York.
First ball action begins with doubles at 2 p.m. Gates open at 1 p.m.