Let's get this thread back running! Ljubicic, Gasquet Battle Through Openers
Former World No. 3 Ivan Ljubicic passed a stern test to advance to the second round of the Open de Moselle, edging French qualifier Sebastien De Chaunac 4-6, 6-1, 7-6(1) on Tuesday at the ATP World Tour 250 tennis tournament in Metz.
The 30 year old, currently No. 46 in the South African Airways 2009 ATP Rankings, struck 21 aces and won 82 per cent of points behind his first serve to close out victory after two hours and 21 minutes and avoid a third successive first-round defeat.
"It was a difficult first match," said Ljubicic. "It's never easy to play a qualifier in the first match. They come in with a lot of confidence and and are used to the court when we are trying to adjust. So today I started not too well but it got better as the match went on. This was my first match since three weeks so I'm happy with the result. I really enjoy the conditions here. It's a court I know well as I played many times at the tournament but in Davis Cup also."
Eighth seed Ljubicic is looking for a return to form at the scene where he clinched one of his eight career ATP World Tour titles, with victory over Gael Monfils in the 2005 final; he was also a quarter-finalist a year earlier (l. to Mathieu).
Ljubicic next will meet World No. 55 Janko Tipsarevic, who disappointed French lucky loser Arnaud Clement by defeating the 2003 champion 6-4, 6-4 with 10 aces and two breaks of serve in the 80-minute match. The 25-year-old Tipsarevic, who helped Serbia gain promotion to the Davis Cup World Group at the weekend, reached the Metz quarter-finals last year (l. to Mathieu).
Ljubicic said: "My next match against Tipsarevic will be very difficult. I think we played once on grass but this doesn't mean much here. I will need to serve well."Frenchman Richard Gasquet was also made to work hard in his first-round match against a qualifier before prevailing 6-3, 2-6, 7-6(5) against German Michael Berrer in two hours and 32 minutes. In the evenly contested encounter, both players hit 12 aces, won 111 total points and converted on two of their break point chances.
The 23-year-old Gasquet improved to a 15-9 season record as he posted his first match win since a third round showing at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia in May. Gasquet, who is playing in Metz for the first time in three years, reached his first ATP World Tour at the tournament in 2004 before losing to countryman Jerome Haehnel.
Belgian Christophe Rochus defied a bagel first set and 20 aces from veteran Frenchman Fabrice Santoro to defeat the fifth seed 0-6, 6-4, 7-6(3) and book his spot in the second round for the first time in three visits. The loss marks the third straight first-round defeat that the 36-year-old Santoro has suffered in Metz and the third first-round exit he has made in his past four tour-level tournaments.
The No. 88-ranked Rochus recorded his first tour-level victory since reaching the third round at Roland Garros (l. to Tsonga) in May – he had also defeated Santoro in the first round that week. He improved to a 14-23 mark on the season.Russian Evgeny Korolev produced a dominant display to upset sixth-seeded German Benjamin Becker 6-2, 6-3. World No. 73 Korolev, who is coming off the back of an ATP Challenger Tour title in Szczecin, Poland, converted all four break points he created and surrendered just seven points on serve throughout the 52-minute match.
World No. 73 Korolev, who is coming off the back of an ATP Challenger Tour title in Szczecin, Poland, converted all four break points he created and surrendered just seven points on serve throughout the 52-minute match.
The 21-year-old Muscovite has enjoyed success in Metz before, qualifying into the 2007 main draw before going on to reach the quarter-finals (l. to Canas). He reached his maiden ATP World Tour final earlier this season at the Delray Beach International Tennis Championships, where he finished runner-up to Mardy Fish.
Korolev goes on to face Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin, who defeated Andrey Golubev of Kazakhstan 6-2, 6-4 in 58 minutes. The No. 100-ranked Istomin is bidding to reach his second ATP World Tour quarter-final of the season.
DEUCE: Moms Know Best
A pair of Frenchmen also advanced as qualifier Thierry Ascione broke serve once to knock out countryman Adrian Mannarino 7-6(5), 6-4 and World No. 69 Marc Gicquel crushed Swiss qualifier Roman Valent 6-3, 6-1 in 54 minutes. The No. 200-ranked Ascione next will face seventh seed Andreas Beck, while Gicquel will challenge No. 3 seed Paul-Henri Mathieu.
Had to bold that last bit. Evgeny doesn't have a thread yet.