Defending champion and No. 8 seed Richard Gasquet withstood 21 aces by Slovenia’s Aljaz Bedene and rallied for a 6-7 (3), 7-6 (5), 6-4 win Tuesday in the first round of the Libema Open in s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands.
The 32-year-old Frenchman was on the ropes with Bedene serving at 5-5 in the second-set tiebreaker, but he won the next three points to force the decider. Gasquet broke Bedene twice in the final set and finished the match in two hours and 26 minutes.
The three other seeded players in action also advanced to the second round. No. 5 seed David Goffin of Belgium crushed Spain’s Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 6-0, 6-2. No. 6 Frances Tiafoe beat Portugal’s Joao Sousa 6-2, 7-6 (0). No. 7 Cristian Garin of Chile eliminated Italy’s Salvatore Caruso 6-1, 6-4.
Contesting his first ATP Tour match on grass, Canadian teenager Felix Auger-Aliassime broke serve once in each set in a 7-5, 6-3 first-round win against Latvia’s Ernests Gulbis in Stuttgart, Germany.
The 18-year-old won 86 percent of his first-service points and saved the only break point he faced in the 86-minute contest. Auger-Aliassime, seeded seventh, will face France’s Gilles Simon in the second round.
Two of Auger-Aliassime’s countrymen experienced mixed results in the other matches involving seeded players. No. 6 Milos Raonic outlasted Australian qualifier Alexei Popyrin 6-7 (6), 6-4, 7-6 (4), but No. 8 Denis Shapovalov fell to Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff 7-5, 6-4.
Also fifth-seeded Gael Monfils of France edged Steve Johnson 7-5, 5-7, 7-6 (6).
–Field Level Media