SOPHIA ANITPOLIS, April 3, 2019
Top seed Pierre-Hugues Herbert opened his title bid at the Mouratoglou Open with a straight-sets win on Wednesday afternoon. The World No. 50 from France defeated Mohamed Safwat of Egypt 7-6(3), 6-2 to reach the third round of the €69,280 ATP Challenger clay-court event.
Herbert capitalized on three of his six break point chances to advance in one hour and 20 minutes.
“I came here to play some matches,” said Herbert, who lost in the opening rounds at the ATP Masters 1000 events in Indian Wells and Miami. “The hard-court swing in America was long and my matches were not the best. I want to find some rhythm, which I didn’t have last month.”
Next up for the 28-year-old Schiltigheim native will be No. 16 seed Gianluca Mager of Italy, who benefited from the retirement of Calvin Hemery of France, leading 7-6(8), 4-1.
Paire, Ramos-Vinolas fall
Earlier in the day, No. 3 seeded Frenchman Benoit Paire fell to Roberto Marcora of Italy, who won 59 per cent of the total points played to secure a 6-3, 6-2 victory in one hour and 14 minutes. Marcora will next take on compatriot Alessandro Giannessi, who defeated Oriol Roca Batalla of Spain 7-5, 6-2.
Thai-Son Kwiatkowski knocked out No. 4 seeded Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas, rallying 2-6, 6-3, 6-4. The 24-year-old US-American withstood seven aces, hitting four of his own to prevail after two hours and three minutes.
✅ First Top 100 win@thaikwiatkowski scores the biggest victory of his career, rallying from a break down in the third to upset Ramos-Vinolas in Sophia Antipolis.
And the 🇺🇸 strikes a running hot shot. Not bad for a day’s work. pic.twitter.com/mac8hth4yV
— ATP Challenger Tour (@ATPChallenger) 3. April 2019
“This is my first victory over a player in the Top 100 and to make it on clay, it’s crazy,” Kwiatkowski commented. “I’ve been working very hard over the past weeks on clay in Orland. This is my second Challenger on red clay. I won matches a long time ago at Futures level. I am quite surprised, but I am very happy.”
Kwiatkowski, winner of the 2017 NCAA singles championship, will next play German young gun Rudolf Molleker, who beat Lucas Miedler of Austria 6-3, 7-6(3). The encounter lasted one hour and 33 minutes.