World number 259th Tallon Griekspoor scored by far the biggest win of his career when he toppled the 5th seed and a former Rotterdam winner Stan Wawrinka 4-6 6-3 6-2 in an hour and 28 minutes. This was only the third match for Griekspoor on the ATP level and his first win, winning just 13 Challenger matches prior to Rotterdam. The 21-year-old lost the opening set with a break that Wawrinka scored in the opening game but that proved to be the only break point he gave to Stan, never letting a deuce in his service games again. Stan was far from his best, playing in his sixth match of the season, and it seems that his knee is still bothering him, as he was unable to move well and struggling to find timing on his groundstrokes. Tallon outplayed Stan from the baseline with deep and aggressive shots, encouraged by the fact that his rival was far from his best, and he did everything right to dominate in sets two and three and score a surprising victory in his very first match of the season!
World number 7 David Goffin scored his sixth win of the season with a commanding 6-1 6-3 triumph over a lucky loser Nicolas Mahut in 64 minutes, beating the Frenchman for the fourth time in five matches. The Belgian served at 73% and he saved all three break points he faced to keep his serve intact. On the other hand, he halted Mahut on just two aces and he won almost 50% of the return points, breaking the veteran four times from eight opportunities he created. The first set was over in just 22 minutes, David sailed through his service games and he broke twice for a 6-1. Nicolas lost serve in game four when he netted a volley and once again in game six when Goffin placed a beautiful forehand down the line winner to move 5-1 in front.
The Belgian secured the set with a service winner in the following game and he was hoping to carry that form into set number two as well. Mahut finally found his range on the return and he earned three break points at the start of the second set, winning more points on David's serve than in the entire first set. Despite some nice shotmaking from the Frenchman, Goffin fends off all three break points and made a hold after a backhand down the line winner. After wasting his chances, Mahut sent a backhand long in game five to drop serve and that marked the end of his chances, getting broken in game nine to end on the losing side. David sealed the deal with a backhand down the line winner and this was a nice recovery for him after losing to Gasquet in the semi-final of Montpellier on Saturday.
Sydney champion Daniil Medvedev also made a winning start, defeating Gilles Muller 6-4 7-6 in 2 hours. It wasn't the best match overall, with 25 break points in total, and the Russian saved nine out of 11 to drop serve twice, scoring three breaks on the other hand and saving two set points in the second set to bring the match home in straight sets. Muller lost 44% of the points in his games and he had to work hard in his games, playing against 14 break chances and fending off 11 to stay in the match as long as possible and he wasn't far from sending the match into a decider. Gilles faced five break points in game three and he fell on that last one, netting an easy volley to find himself 2-1 down. Daniil got another break in game five to move 4-1 ahead and he saved two break points in game six with two winners to increase his advantage. The Russian served for the set in game eight but he got broken at love, sending a backhand long to miss a chance to close the set on a high note.
He had another opportunity in game 10 and that turned into an open war, with nine deuces in total! Medvedev repelled six break points that could return Muller to the scoreboard and the youngster closed the set on his fourth set point with an ace, notching the opener by 6-4. Giller was in even bigger problems when he got broken at 15 at the start of set number two, with four more break points up for grabs for Medeved in game number five. Gilles did his best to saved them and he held after a service winner that kept him in contention for the rest of the match. That proved to be even more important when he broke Medvedev in game eight to level the score at 4-4, and he saved two break points in the following game to take the first lead in the set. The Russian lost his ground a little bit in those moments and he had to save a set point in game 10 to set up the tie break. Muller saved four match points in the breaker to gain another set point at 9-8 but he was denied by a perfect volley from Daniil who converted his fifth match points with a good return to take the breaker 11-9 and book the place in the second round.
First round results: