Holger Rune performed under pressure for new coach Boris Becker on Tuesday, earning a 1-6, 7-5, 6-3 win over Miomir Kecmanovic to reach the second round of the Swiss Indoors.
The victory counted as revenge for the 20-year-old who lost to the Serb in his opening match as holder at the ATP event in Stockholm last week.
Six-time Grand Slam champion Becker returned from a lightning trip on Tuesday to the ATP event in Vienna in time to watch his young charge’s impressive turnaround in their first in-person match together.
“The match was not so good in the beginning, but it ended in the best possible way,” the sixth-ranked Rune said.
“I was able to raise my level and find my focus. I’m super-happy with how I managed my emotions.”
Top seed Rune ended with 37 winners as he set up a second-round contest at the St Jakobshalle in Basel with Argentine Sebastian Baez.
Becker, who flew to Vienna for a conference on the fringes of the ATP event, is looking forward to a successful collaboration with Rune.
“It’s an exciting (coaching) task because it’s also an exciting time,” the 55-year-old said.
“If (Holger) can put his emotions into positive use, nothing will stand in his way.”
Rune is hanging onto the eighth and final position in the points race to the year-end ATP Finals next month in Turin; Basel entrants Taylor Fritz and Casper Ruud are right behind him in the standings.
Rune said that after crashing in the opening set against Kecmanovic, he was able to turn his game around.
“I started believing in my shots, asking myself to remember what I’m capable of, trying to raise my level.
“I wanted to stay in the match and give myself a chance to play better.”
Fourth seed Hubert Hurkacz stayed in the chase for a place in Turin with his 7-6 (7/2), 6-3 defeat of Dusan Lajovic.
One of the bigger servers in the game who stands provisional 11th in the points chase, produced 18 aces in a victory lasting 86 minutes.
“You’ve got to produce the results, focus on every point,” this month’s champion at the Shanghai Masters said.
“You’ve got to win matches and tournaments. I know how important these wins are for me.”
Dominic Stricker sent a Swiss into the second round with his 7-6 (7/2), 6-2 defeat of Lebanese qualifier Benjamin Hassan, with the home player advancing in 91 minutes and saving all three break points he faced.