© Moselle Open

Nicolas Mahut claims victory in his first meeting with Dustin Brown.

Mahut Shuts Down Shotmaker Brown In Metz

Frenchman working towards a return to the Top 100

Veteran Frenchman Nicolas Mahut continued his push to break back into the Top 100 of the Emirates ATP Rankings with a 6-1, 7-6(4) first-round win over German shotmaker Dustin Brown at the Moselle Open in Metz, France, Wednesday.

The current World No. 107 slipped out of the Top 100 for the first time in more than two years in July but put himself back within range by winning five matches at the US Open to come through qualifying to reach the third round for the second consecutive year.

Mahut first played the Moselle Open in 2003. He is a two-time semi-finalist at the event (2013, 07) and has reached the quarter-finals the past two years. To reach the quarters again, he must beat lucky loser Kenny De Schepper, who claimed a main-draw slot when top seed Pablo Carreno Busta withdrew. (Mahut lost to the Spaniard in the third round at Flushing Meadows earlier this month.)

The 35-year-old has won one title in each of the past two seasons (both in 's-Hertogenbosch). His four career titles (and six finals appearances) have all come on grass.

Mahut's doubles partner, Pierre-Hugues Herbert, did not enjoy the same success Wednesday, beaten 6-7(3), 6-3, 6-2 by fifth seed Mischa Zverev. The German serve/volley was clutch in key moments, saving 10 of 12 break points faced while converting five of his 10 chances on the Frenchman's serve.

Zverev next faces Swiss Henri Laaksonen, a 7-5, 6-2 winner over French wild card Paul-Henri Mathieu. Zverev is currently No. 27 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, just two places off his career-high mark of No. 25. He recently reached the fourth round of the US Open.

German qualifier Peter Gojowczyk enjoyed an upset 6-4, 7-6(4) win over two-time former champion Gilles Simon, who paid the price for putting just 45 per cent of first serves into play. Gojowczyk next meets the winner of third-seeded Frenchman Lucas Pouille and Romania's Marius Copil.

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