METZ, September 19, 2016
The 14th edition of the Moselle Open kicked-off on Monday and features a contingent of 10 Frenchmen after the qualifying, bidding to become the tournament’s ninth homegrown champion. Leading the field for France is third seed Lucas Pouille, who is a career-high number 18 in this week’s ATP Rankings after falling as low as number 91 in February. The world number 11 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga suffered a knee injury at the US Open and was forced to pull out of the tournament.
The top two seeds are Dominic Thiem of Austria and Belgian David Goffin. Thiem’s debut in Metz will mark his 22nd tournament of 2016, highlighted by 52 wins and four ATP World Tour titles titles. The 2014 Metz champion Goffin returns with a 4-4 record since Wimbledon.
Two singles matches made up the main draw schedule inside Metz’s Les Arènes on Monday. Fifth seed Martin Klizan faced French wild card Julien Benneteau on Court Patrice Dominguez, followed by the tournament’s number six seed Gilles Muller against Horacio Zeballos.
Despite missing 10 weeks this season due to right foot inflammation, Klizan won the ATP World Tour 500 titles at Rotterdam and Hamburg. Benneteau, too, has struggled with injuries of late. The 34-year-old veteran is 5-12 in singles this season after undergoing abductor surgery on June 9, 2015. In Monday’s encounter, the French veteran remained untroubled, didn’t face a break point and converted five of his own to seal a 6-2, 6-1 victory in only 56 minutes. Benneteau will next face the winner of the match between Paul-Henri Mathieu and Szczecin Open runner-up Dustin Brown.
Muller defeated Zeballos 7-6, 7-5. The world number 37 from Luxembourg fired 19 aces and saved both break points he faced, capitalizing on one of his own to prevail in one hour and 35 minutes. Next up for Muller will be either Nikoloz Basilashvili or Gregoire Barrere. Both battled through the qualifying.