The main draw action at the Open 13 Provence in Marseille kicked off with three first-round matches and it was the Pole Hubert Hurkacz who delivered the first triumph, ousting Filip Krajinovic 6-3, 6-2 in 65 minutes for the ninth ATP win.
A tall Pole blasted 13 aces and fended off all eight break points he faced to keep the pressure on the Serb who couldn't endure it, losing almost half of the points behind the initial shot and suffering three breaks from six opportunities he gave to Hubert.
The younger player repelled a couple of break points in game five and he earned a break in the next game after a fantastic backhand that he barely caught. Filip saved three set points at 2-5 before Hubert secured the opener with a service winner in the next game for a 6-3.
The Pole refused to give the serve away at the start of the second set when he saved six break points in back-to-back games, winning 19 of the last 21 points to march towards the finish line. Hubert broke at love at 2-2 and again in game seven after a poor volley from Krajinovic, sealing the deal with an ace a few minutes later to enter the last 16.
The 6th seed and a two-time former champion Gilles Simon had to dig deep to oust Antoine Hoang 5-7, 6-3, 6-3 in two hours and 14 minutes for his sixth win of the season. After losing the opening set, the more experienced player took charge and he lost serve just once in sets two and three, finding the rhythm on the return as well to score five breaks in total and emerge as the winner.
Gilles had an excellent chance to seal the deal in straight sets, leading 5-2 in the opener and serving for the set at 5-3 when Hoang broke back after a backhand winner and a double fault from Simon. The younger Frenchman repelled two set points on serve in the next game to level the score at 5-5 and he forced an error from Gilles in game 11 before closing the opener with a service winner in the next game after almost an hour of play.
Things looked worse and worse for a former champion who suffered a break of serve at the start of the second set as well thanks to a loose backhand, erasing the deficit with a break at 15 in game four that gave him the momentum.
Antoine lost serve again in game eight and Simon clinched the set with a service winner after saving a break point at 5-3. Trailing 3-2 in the final set, Gilles rattled off four straight games and he celebrated a win when Antoine netted a forehand in game nine, setting the second round clash against Damir Dzumhur or Peter Gojowczyk.