In an all-French battle, Gilles Simon saved two match points to win a back-and-forth contest against Gael Monfils 0-6, 6-0, 7-6(0) on Monday at the Mutua Madrid Open. Simon erased the match points while serving at 2-5 in the third set.
The 32-year-old Simon will next meet Spaniard Feliciano Lopez, who defeated #NextGenATP American qualifier Ernesto Escobedo 6-4, 6-4 in 74 minutes. Simon and Lopez have split their previous four FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings, but this will be their first encounter on clay.
Lopez, 35, is the only player to have appeared in all 16 editions of his hometown ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament and is a four-time quarter-finalist in Madrid.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga had to work for it but ultimately prevailed in a marathon first-round match against Russian qualifier Andrey Kuznetsov 7-6(5), 6-7(5), 7-5 that lasted two hours and 50 minutes. Tsonga saved all six break points and converted his only break point against Kuznetsov in the third set.
The 10th-seeded Frenchman improved to 3-0 against Kuznetsov in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series. The win is also Tsonga’s first since 26 February, when he captured the Marseille crown, and his first since he welcomed his son Shugar on 18 March.
The 32 year old will meet Spaniard David Ferrer in the second round. Ferrer came back from a set and 1-3 down to prevail against Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin 2-6, 7-6(1), 6-4 in two hours and 31 minutes. The 35-year-old Ferrer is now one match win away from celebrating his 700th match win.
“I’m very proud of my career. But that figure is a very big figure. It’s something quite big to achieve, very difficult to achieve for a tennis player,” Ferrer said. “Fortunately, I’ve been lucky. I have had a long career. I still have a lot of time ahead of me. I’ve won a lot of matches and that makes me very happy. I’ve been very happy playing tennis.”
Dimitrov Gets Off To Winning Start In Madrid