Tokyo 2020 Olympic Gold medalist Alexander Zverev stood his ground at the ATP Cincinnati Masters on Wednesday with his first victory at the US Open tune-up event in seven attempts.
World No. 5 Zverev has been deep in a rut from his first appearance in 2015 at the Midwest US venue, exiting in the first round every time.
But that all changed as Zverev celebrated success with a 7-6 (7/3), 6-2 win over South African Lloyd Harris to break his duck.
"I'm happy where I'm at and I'm happy to get my first win in seven years here," he said. "It's obviously a great start to the week."
The breakthrough victory was the seventh in a row for the 24-year-old.
"When I came on court and they said Olympic gold medalist, it did give me goosebumps," Zverev said.
"It made me a little nervous at the beginning of the match, I have to say, because it is a special feeling."
Zverev now goes up against Argentine Guido Pella, a winner over Italy's Fabio Fognini 6-1, 7-5.
Top seed Daniil Medvedev, last week's Toronto champion, also advanced in a no-drama 6-2, 6-2 defeat of American Mackenzie McDonald that took just an hour for the 2019 Cincinnati champion.
No 2 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas fought off Sebastian Korda for a 7-6 (7/5), 6-3 victory that took the Toronto semifinalist into the third round.
The Greek won on his second match point as Korda drove a forehand long after 97 minutes.
Tsitsipas next plays Italy's Lorenzo Sonego who beat American Tommy Paul 7-6 (11/9), 6-2.
Norway's eighth-seeded Casper Ruud out-aced American Reilly Opelka 21 to 17 on his way to a 6-7 (5/7), 6-0, 7-6 (7/4) victory.
Andy Murray's wild card run ended with a 7-6 (7/4), 6-3 loss to Poland's Hubert Hurkacz.
The Scotsman, who has been struggling to re-establish himself on tour after his latest injury – a groin problem – lost the second-round contest in one and three-quarter hours to the player who knocked Roger Federer out of Wimbledon.
Murray fired a respectable 11 aces to the 17 of his ninth-seeded opponent in the first-time meeting while saving four breakpoints.
Olympic silver medalist Karen Khachanov joined Murray in defeat as the Russian exited 6-7 (5/7), 6-3, 6-4 to Canada's 12th-seeded Felix Auger-Aliassime, who will face Wimbledon finalist Matteo Berrettini for a quarterfinal place.
Frenchman Gael Monfils earned the 500th match win of his career as he beat Australian Alex de Minaur 6-3, 7-5. The victory put the 34-year-old into the third round against sixth seed Andrey Rublev, aged just six when the Frenchman won his first ATP match in 2004.
American John Isner beat Italian 11th seed Jannik Sinner 5-7, 7-6 (7/4), 6-4.
Former champion Grigor Dimitrov reached the third round over Kazakh Alexander Bublik 6-3, 7-5