Read & Watch: Pouille Breaks QF Streak In Stuttgart
Lucas Pouille improved to 5-1 at the MercedesCup in Stuttgart on Wednesday as the Frenchman advanced past #NextGenATP German Rudolf Molleker 6-3, 6-4. The second seed hit 10 aces and dropped only five points on his first serve (31/36) in the 49-minute victory.
Pouille became the fifth active Frenchman to crack the Top 10 of the ATP Rankings on 19 March, but the 24-year-old hadn't reached a quarter-final since the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, where Pouille reached the final on 3 March. He won the 2017 Stuttgart title, beating Spaniard Feliciano Lopez for his first grass-court crown. In the Stuttgart quarter-finals, Pouille will face Ubzekistan's Denis Istomin. Molleker, 17, celebrated his first tour-level win on Monday.
Germany's Maximilian Marterer continued his strong run of form, coming from a set down to beat lucky loser Viktor Galovic 3-6, 6-4, 6-1. Marterer saved five of six break points as he notched his 15th tour-level victory of the season after one hour and 34 minutes. The German is competing at a career high No. 50 in the ATP Rankings after reaching the Round of 16 at Roland Garros (l. to Nadal).
The 22-year-old will meet Nick Kyrgios for a quarter-final spot. The Australian has not played a singles match on the ATP World Tour since his quarter-final loss to Ivo Karlovic at the Fayez Sarofim & Co. U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championship in April.
Prajnesh Gunneswaran, competing in just his fourth tour-level match, produced a big upset to defeat #NextGenATP Canadian Denis Shapovalov 7-6(6), 2-6, 6-3. Gunneswaran, ranked No. 169, twice recovered from a break down to take a one-set lead before securing victory, on his fifth match point, after one hour and 49 minutes. The Indian qualifier will face Argentina's Guido Pella for a spot in the quarter-finals.
Seventh seed Milos Raonic saved two set points in the first set before safely progressing to the second round, beating fellow Stuttgart debutant Mirza Basic 7-6(8), 6-2 to earn his 300th tour-level match win.
The Canadian fired 15 aces and only lost one point behind his first serve to move past the Diema Xtra Sofia Open champion in 83 minutes. Raonic will meet Banque Eric Sturdza Geneva Open titlist Marton Fucsovics in the second round.
Watch Highlights: Home Favourite Marterer Comes Back
Benoit Paire also progressed to the second round, beating #NextGenATP American Taylor Fritz 6-7(4), 6-3, 6-2. The Frenchman hit 15 aces and converted five of eight break point chances.
Did You Know?
Lucas Pouille is looking to become just the second man in MercedesCup history to successfully defend his title. The only man to ever retain his title in Stuttgart is Austria's Thomas Muster (1995-1996).