Pouille Edges Seppi In Rome
In a clash delayed by almost three hours due to rain, the 24-year-old, who suffered opening-match defeats in Monte-Carlo, Budapest and Madrid, hit seven aces and won 75 per cent of first-serve points to clinch victory in just over two hours.
The Open Sud de France champion (d. Gasquet) broke serve in the first game of the match with two pinpoint forehand winners down the line, before cruising to a one-set lead after 28 minutes. But Seppi rallied well, securing the only break of the second set to force a decider, which he led by a break at 3-2, before Pouille emerged victorious in a final-set tie-break. The French No. 1 converted his first match point, as Seppi’s forehand sailed beyond the baseline, to book his spot in the next round.
Nikoloz Basilashvili also came through a tight three-set encounter against Italian opposition, overcoming Filippo Baldi 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 in two hours. The Georgian dropped 12 points on serve in the first and final sets to set a second-round meeting against four-time champion Novak Djokovic.
American Jack Sock, who qualified for the 2017 Nitto ATP Finals, was trying to win back-to-back matches for the first time since making the semi-finals at The O2, but Sock fell to German Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-4, 6-3. The German veteran will next meet third seed Grigor Dimitrov or Kei Nishikori of Japan.