Molcan Defeats Tsonga In Lyon Opener

Alex Molcan (photo: Alexandre Hergott/Open Parc)

LYON/STARNBERG, May 16, 2022

The ATP Tour is back in France for the Open Parc Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes Lyon, traditionally held the week before Roland Garros. Two local wild card entries fell in the opening round on Monday, as Alex Molcan defeated 2017 Lyon champion Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who will retire after this year’s French Open.

The World No. 47 from Slovakia saved all four break points he faced and capitalized on two of his own eight break-point opporunities to advance after one hour and 32 minutes.

“I am really happy I won today. It was a pleasure to play against Jo,” Molcan said in his on-court interview. “He is a legend of the sport and I am really happy I could play him at least once in my career. I remember him playing, he was unbelievable. The emotions, everything.”

Molcan will next take on fifth-seeded Russian Karen Khachanov, who eased past French qualifier Gilles Simon 6-1, 6-4 in one hour and 32 minutes.

Lyon says Merci to Tsonga

Tsonga said after his last Lyon match: “I don’t have many words to describe all that I have been through all these years. There was doubt, pleasure and times when I felt like I was no longer touching the ground, I was so happy. I tried to enjoy every moment. It’s a page that turns, but I won’t forget the book.”

Earlier in the day, Oscar Otte knocked out World No. 163 Lucas Pouille. The 28-year-old German sent down five aces and won 85 per cent of his first-service points to prevail after one hour and 10 minutes.

Otte will play No. 7 seed Sebastian Baez in the second round of the ATP 250 clay-court event. The 21-year-old Argentine beat his compatriot and qualifier Tomas Martin Etcheverry 6-2, 6-1. The encounter lasted one hour and 31 minutes.

In other action, Soonwoo Kwon of South Korea saved a match point before outlasting Aljaz Bedene of Slovenia 4-6, 7-6(4), 6-0 and will next face Japanese lucky loser Yosuke Watanuki, who knocked off No. 8 seed Pedro Martinez of Spain 6-7(2), 6-4, 6-2 after almost three hours of play.