MARSEILLE, February 17, 2016
After a first round bye, top-seed Stan Wawrinka made his first appearance at the Open 13 since reaching the fourth round at the Australian Open last month when he took on Sergiy Stakhovsky to start his title bid.
The world number four from Switzerland lost to the Ukrainian in the stage of the final eight in Marseille last year, but took revenge this time. Wawrinka hit seven aces and converted two of his three break points. He had to save two match points in the tie-break of the final set to seal a 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 victory in one hour and 57 minutes when he converted his second match point with a fantastic long line backhand passing shot.
“I wasn’t playing great. I just tried to find my rhythm as well as my game in general. I am glad to have eked it out in the tie-break,” Wawrinka summerized his performance.
Fourth seed Marin Cilic opened his Marseille campaign, rallying back 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 against Robin Haase. The world number 12 sent down 12 aces and won 83% of his first service points to advance after two hours and two minutes.
“Obviously it was a very very tough match. I was a break up in first set with a chance of a double break but sometimes it gets complicated and I am just happy to get out of this. I am happy the way i played in the final set,” Cilic told afterwards. The 27-year-old Croat reached the final here at his last appearance in 2011.
“I have nice memories here and there are great players here again. It is going to be an exciting week and i hope to continue well.”
Sixth seed David Goffin benefited from the retirement of German qualifier Mischa Zverev, leading 6-1, 2-0. Goffin awaits either second seed Tomas Berdych or Alexander Zverev in the quarterfinals.
“Fans have a nice way to ask for some autographs in Marseille,” Goffin wrote on facebook.
Four Frenchmen went head to head in the remaining two first round matches. Qualifier Vincent Millot beat Nicolas Mahut 6-7, 6-2, 6-3 in two hours and 11 minutes and 19-year-old Quentin Halys, who also battled through the qualifying and is making his tournament debut, rallied from a set down to overcome lucky loser David Guez 6-7, 6-2, 6-3 in two hours and seven minutes.