Vasek Pospisil at the 2021 US Open

Photo: camerawork usa

Back at the site of one of his two ATP finals appearances from 2020, Vasek Pospisil was denied a mouth-watering rematch with his opponent from last year’s final of the Sofia Open, Jannik Sinner, after a first-round 5-7, 7-6(8), 6-3 loss to Egor Gerasimov.

Pospisil’s run to the championship match at the ATP 250 event 10 months ago included victories over two seeded players – Jan-Lennard Struff (No. 4) and John Millman (No. 6) – before he came unstuck against Sinner in a closely-contested match 6-4, 3-6, 7-6.

This time around, the Canadian’s Sofia Open campaign began against a player he was yet to previously face in his career. Ranked No. 112 on the ATP Tour, Gerasimov qualified for the main draw following straight-set victories over Evgeny Donskoy and Altug Celikbilek.

The opening set of their first-round clash remained on serve with neither player being troubled all too often. That was until, at 6-5*, Pospisil crafted several break point opportunities. However, Gerasimov showed great resilience to fend off the first four, before finally dropping serve at Pospisil’s fifth attempt to ensure the Canadian took the first set 7-5.

Onto the second and, again, both players found it difficult to find a crack in the other’s armor. They exchanged just three break point opportunities between them and their first serve point win percentages were very similar at 83% for the Belarusian and 86% for Pospisil.  It would take a tiebreak to separate them and, this time, Gerasimov would come out on top to take the set 7-6(8), despite Pospisil having a match point at 7-6.

In the third and deciding set, Gerasimov crafted an early 4-0 lead thanks to consecutive breaks of the Canadian’s serve. Pospisil did strike back with a break and consolidation of his own to cut the deficit in half to 2-4, but his opponent’s advantage proved insurmountable as Gerasimov claimed the set 6-3 and, subsequently, the match.