© Sindy Thomas

Nick Kyrgios opens his Marseille campaign with victory over Vasek Pospisil.

Krygios Makes Winning Return; Simon Stumbles

Defending champion unable to convert match points

One of the leading stars of the Next Generation, Nick Kyrgios, made a successful return to action on Tuesday in Marseille as he defeated Vasek Pospisil 6-4, 6-4 in the first round of the Open 13 Provence.

The 20-year-old Australian is playing just his second tournament of the year, after reaching the third round at the Australian Open (l. to Berdych). On his Marseille debut, Kyrgios broke Pospisil twice to secure victory in 70 minutes.

“I knew it would be a tough match,” said Kyrgios. “He’s a great player, he has a great serve, he loves fast surface so I knew I had to play well and serve well and I’m happy that I managed to do it.”

Kyrgios goes on to face Teymuraz Gabashvili, who saved three match points as he upset defending champion Gilles Simon 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(7). The Russian trailed 6-4 in the tie-break and faced another match point at 7-6 before converting his first opportunity after two hours and 30 minutes.

The fifth-seeded Simon won the title at this ATP World Tour 250 indoor hard-court tournament last year with victory over Gael Monfils in an all-French final. He had also lifted the trophy in 2007 (d. Baghdatis).

The 30-year-old Gabashvili was a semi-finalist in Sydney last month (l. to Troicki) and has a 5-4 match record on the season.

Sergiy Stakhovsky will face top seed Stan Wawrinka in the second round after beating Feliciano Lopez 6-3, 2-6, 7-6(5) in one hour and 54 minutes. "I feel fantastic!" said Stakhovsky, who struck 12 aces to get off the mark in his 2016 ATP World Tour campaign. "After my first win of 2016, how else am I supposed to feel? I'm feeling great."

Lopez also fell in his first-round doubles match Tuesday. Teaming up with fellow Spaniard Marc Lopez, the top seeds fell to Robin Haase and Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi 7-6(0), 7-6(6). 

Ernests Gulbis set a second-round clash with third seed Richard Gasquet as he edged qualifier Kenny De Schepper 6-4, 6-7(6), 7-6(2) in two hours and 13 minutes. After missing a match point in the second set tie-break, Gulbis rallied from an early break deficit in the decider to claim victory in another tie-break, firing 16 aces.

In the same quarter of the draw, Mischa Zverev and Alexander Zverev both advanced with straight-sets wins. Mischa, a qualifier, beat wild card Ramkumar Ramanathan 6-2, 7-5 to set a second-round meeting with sixth seed David Goffin. Sascha will challenge No. 2 seed Tomas Berdych after closing out a 7-6(4), 7-5 victory over qualifier Julien Benneteau. The 18 year old will be looking to reach the quarter-finals for the third time in as many weeks. 

"I played quite well, I think," he said. "This next match against Tomas will be one of the toughest ones of these three weeks, and we’ll see how I am, but from my game point of view, I’m ready for him."

Another Frenchman fell as Andrey Kuznetsov defeated Lucas Pouille 7-6(1), 6-4 in one hour and 32 minutes.

More stories like this in: