ATP Marrakech: Simon, Edmund, Tsonga and Daniel make winning start


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ATP Marrakech: Simon, Edmund, Tsonga and Daniel make winning start

The 3rd seed and the last year's Marrakech finalist Kyle Edmund is through to the second round after a 6-3, 6-2 triumph over the young Frenchman Ugo Humbert in an hour and 19 minutes for the fifth win of the season. Losing just nine points in eight service games, Kyle fended off three break points in the third game of the second set when he was already a set and a break up, keeping the pressure on Ugo who couldn't endure it.

The 20-year-old dropped half of the points in his games, facing ten break points and losing serve twice in each set to send Kyle over the top. Ugo repelled two break points in the opening game of the match to avoid an early setback before netting an easy forehand at 2-2 to give Edmund a break and the lead.

The Briton sailed through his service games and he wasted four break points in game seven, staying one break in front and stealing another return game at 5-3 to cement the opener. Kyle fired four forehand down the line winners in the opening game of the second set, breaking Humbert at love in game two and saving those three break points in the following game to move 3-0 up.

Serving to stay in the match at 2-5, Ugo suffered another break to propel Kyle into the second round where he will face Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Competing in Marrakech with a wild card, Tsonga defeated Cedric-Marcel Stebe 6-2, 7-6 in an hour and 20 minutes for the 12th win of the season, serving well and doing enough damage on the return to wrap up the win in straight sets.

Playing for the first time since the Australian Open 2018, Stebe fought well in the second set to stay neck and neck with Tsonga, falling in the tie break to send Jo-Wilfried into the last 16. The Frenchman saved both break points he faced and scored three straight breaks in the opener for a 6-1, squandering two break points in the second game of the second set and having to play against a couple of those a few minutes later.

Two winners got Tsonga out of jail and nothing could separate them before the tie break that he won 7-3 with a forehand return winner that propelled him into the second round. Taro Daniel needed just 55 minutes to dismiss struggling German Mischa Zverev 6-3, 6-0, losing 15 points on serve to get broken once and dominating on the return to take more than 60% of the points behind Zverev's initial shot, breaking him five times from seven opportunities.

Trailing 5-1 in the first set, Mischa saved two set points to pull one break back, reducing the deficit to 5-3 before the Japanese took the remaining seven games to march over the finish line and grab the fifth win of the season.

The 4th seed Gilles Simon took down Jozef Kovalik 6-4, 6-1 in an hour and a half, saving all three break points and converting three out of five chances to oust the Slovak, closing the opening set with a break in game ten and never looking back.

The 19-year-old Alejandro Davidovich Fokina will compete in the main draw of the ATP tournament for the first time following a commanding 6-2, 6-2 victory over Evgeny Karlovskiy in 58 minutes, delivering some superb tennis on serve to avoid break points and scoring four in each set on the other side to secure an ATP debut in style.