Simon Survives Scare; Khachanov Battles Back
Russian Karen Khachanov came back from a set down against one of the toughest competitors on the ATP World Tour to advance on Tuesday at the Open Sud de France. The 21-year-old Khachanov beat Spain's David Ferrer 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-4, avoiding a single break point in the decider to reach the second round in Montpellier.
Both players were coming off of good runs in Auckland, before the Australian Open. Khachanov reached the quarter-finals at the ASB Classic, Ferrer the semi-finals. They both lost to Juan Martin del Potro. In fact, Khachanov's two losses this season have come against Del Potro (also second round Australian Open).
Khachanov will next face Lithuania’s Ricardas Berankis, who battled past 36-year-old Frenchman Julien Benneteau. Berankis, the World No. 117, saved five of six break points and sealed the win on his second match point.
Gilles Simon needed a third-set tie-break to beat German qualifier Yannick Maden 6-1, 4-6, 7-6(3). Simon, who won the Tata Open Maharashtra in Pune to open his 2018 ATP World Tour campaign, looked to be cruising after a 6-1 first set in front of a supportive home crowd. But the 33-year-old ran into trouble as Maden, competing in just his fourth ATP World Tour match, raised his level.
Simon was forced to claw his way back from 2-4 down in the decider, before triumphing in a final-set tie-break to move to 7-2 in 2018. Simon will meet top seed David Goffin in a mouth-watering second-round encounter.
There were contrasting results for #NextGenATP contenders on the second day of play in southern France.
Jeremy Chardy came from a set down to deny #NextGenATP Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas a place in the second round with a 4-6, 7-5, 7-5 win after two hours, 13 minutes. Tsitsipas has now lost his past four tour-level matches since reaching the quarter-finals at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open.
Carlos Taberner, competing in his first match on the ATP World Tour, defeated World No. 137 Norbert Gombos 7-6(5), 7-6(1) in one hour, 53 minutes. The 20-year-old Spaniard was cool under pressure, saving 10 of 11 break points he faced to book a second-round meeting with No. 2 seed Lucas Pouille.