© A. Briand

Denis Istomin rallies from a set down to upset Richard Gasquet in the first round in Metz.

Istomin Upsets Gasquet In Metz

Disappointment for Gasquet on home soil

It was an unhappy return for Frenchman Richard Gasquet as he played his first match in Metz since 2001. The sixth seed was beaten 1-6, 6-4, 6-4 by Denis Istomin in the first round of the Moselle Open on Tuesday.

It was a fast turnaround for Gasquet, who captured his first ATP Challenger Tour title in seven years when he triumphed in Szczecin on Sunday. Istomin saved 10 of the 13 break points he faced as he overturned a 1-6 FedEx ATP Head2Head record against Gasquet to prevail in one hour and 54 minutes.

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Seventh seed Benoit Paire recorded his third match win on his fifth appearance in Metz by beating Greek qualifier Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-2, 6-4 in 57 minutes. He now plays Spain’s Marcel Granollers, the 2012 finalist, who lived to fight another day by saving one match point in the deciding set tie-break to scrape past Italian qualifier Simone Bolelli 7-6(9), 3-6, 7-6(8) in two hours and 42 minutes. Granollers, who struck 17 aces, saved one set point at 5/6 in the first-set tie-break, then one match point at 5/6 in the third-set tie-break in the pair’s first meeting for nine years.

Nicolas Almagro levelled his FedEx ATP Head2Head record with Frenchman Julien Benneteau at 3-3 after a 7-6(3), 7-5 victory. The Spaniard hit 10 aces and broke in the final game on his third match point to secure the victory.

It is the first match win in Metz for the former No. 9 in the Emirates ATP Rankings. He will next face No. 2 seed David Goffin for a place in the quarter-finals. Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili toughed out a 2-6, 7-(5), 6-4 win over French qualifier Vincent Millot and now challenges fourth seed Gilles Muller of Luxembourg.

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