After missing the second part of 2018 with a back injury, 2012 Montpellier champion Tomas Berdych is on the winning course again, scoring his ninth win of the season after demolishing Benoit Paire 6-2, 6-0 in 58 minutes!
This was their fourth match and the fourth win for the Czech who saved both break points he faced, keeping the pressure on the other side of the net and taking almost 60% of the return points to break Paire five times from ten opportunities.
It was one of those days for the Frenchman who couldn't do anything right on the court, making one error after another and just wanting to finish the match as soon as possible, something the French crowd didn't like at all.
Interestingly, it was Tomas who had to face a break point first at the start of the match, repelling it with a good attack and saving the other one with a service winner in game three to stay on the positive side of the scoreboard.
The match was about 11 minutes old and that was all we saw from Paire who lost serve at 15 in game four after a weak volley. Serving at 2-5, Benoit hit a nonchalant drop shot that never reached the net, suffering another break and handing the set to his opponent.
Tomas broke at the start of the second set thanks to a rushed volley from Benoit and he never looked back, winning the remaining five games as well to rattle off eight in a row and move over the top when Paire smashed a forehand into the net in game six.
After a solid string of results that pushed him inside the top-30, Filip Krajinovic started to struggle with injuries again to barely stay inside the top-100, looking to make another push in 2019 doing an excellent job in Montpellier so far after ousting the struggling Belgian David Goffin 6-4, 6-4 in an hour and 28 minutes for the place in the quarters.
Goffin blasted 11 aces but the problem was he served at only 52%, losing too many points on the second serve and having to play against 11 break points. He saved nine of those but two breaks were everything Filip needed to bring the win home, fending off all four chances he offered to David to keep his games intact.
Krajinovic kicked off the match with a break in the very first game thanks to a backhand down the line winner, defending two break points in the following game and serving well in the rest of the set for a 6-4. The second set offered a similar scenario, with Goffin spraying a backhand error in the first game to find himself set and a break down.
Filip wasted four more chances to forge an even bigger lead before facing a couple of break points in game eight. He repelled them to maintain the lead and David played a match point at 3-5, surviving for another game when Krajinovic netted a forehand.
Serving for the win in the next game, the Serb fired a service winner that delivered a hold at 15 and the place in the next round, making both himself and the coach Thomas Johansson happy with the way he performed. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga suffered a severe knee injury here 12 months ago, dropping out from the top-200 and not being able to play for seven months.
Entering the main draw with a wild card, Tsonga toppled the 4th seed Gilles Simon 6-2, 7-6 in an hour and 34 minutes for the ninth win over the fellow Frenchman in 12 matches. Jo played well on both the first and second serve, saving four out of five break points and claiming 45% of the return points to secure three breaks from six chances.
Tsonga won 17 of the first 21 points to settle into a great rhythm and open a 4-0 lead, clinching the opener with a service winner in the eighth game for a 6-2. They traded breaks at the start of the second set and this time Gilles managed to stay in touch with the opponent, reaching the tie break that Jo won 7-3 after another booming serve to book the place in the quarter-final.