Following a tight loss to Milos Raonic in Stuttgart, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is back on the winning way in Halle, ousting the compatriot Benoit Paire 6-4, 7-5 in an hour and 18 minutes. It was their fifth meeting on the Tour and the fourth triumph for the more experienced Frenchman who lost just 13 points behind the initial shot, fending off the only break point he faced and stealing Paire's serve once in each set to book the place in round two where he will face Roger Federer.
Blasting 16 aces, Jo-Wilfried kept everything under control in his games, hitting 32 winners and just 15 unforced errors that Paire couldn't match. Tsonga grabbed an early lead when Paire hit a double fault in the first game, serving well and delivering a hold at love in game ten for a 6-4.
Nothing could have separated them in the first ten games of the second set, with a little bit of football and everything before Tsonga grabbed a break for a 6-5 advantage, sealing the deal in the next game after fending off a break point to move into round two.
Playing only his sixth tournament of the season, Richard Gasquet defeated Peter Gojowczyk 6-3, 6-4 in 69 minutes after an excellent performance in his games. The Frenchman dropped ten points behind the initial shot, saving one break point he had to play against and converting two out of 11 opportunities on the return to march into the last 16.
Settling into a great rhythm, Gasquet broke in the second game and closed the set on the sixth set point for a 6-3, hoping for more of the same in set number two. There, Gojowczyk got broken at 1-1 and Richard marched over the top with a forehand winner in game ten for another good result after reaching the semi-final in s-Hertogenbosch last week.
Playing against each other for the third time in a previous couple of weeks, Roberto Bautista Agut defeated Taylor Fritz 7-6, 6-0 in an hour and 23 minutes, delivering stellar performance on serve and completely outplaying the young gun once he won the opening set that saw him wasting five break points in the early games.
The American had four set points in the tie break at 6-4, 7-6 and 9-8 but it wasn't to be for him as Bautista Agut prevailed 12-10, building the momentum and storming over his rival in set number two to book the place in the next round.
The 4th seed and the defending champion Borna Coric took down Jaume Munar 7-6, 6-3 in an hour and 25 minutes, saving both break points and stealing Munar's serve once from the only chance he earned in the entire clash!
The Spaniard was the better player in the opening set, delivering one good hold after another and missing a couple of break points in the eighth game that could have sent him in front. Borna found an extra gear on the return in the breaker, taking it 7-2 and clinching the only break in the fourth game of the second set that carried him over the top.
Stuttgart champion Matteo Berrettini defeated Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-4, 6-4 after another excellent performance, closing the encounter in 70 minutes after repelling both break points to keep serve intact in the sixth straight encounter on grass this year!
Basilashvili did everything to stay in touch until at least one tie break but that wasn't possible, suffering a break in the fifth game of the opener and at 4-4 in set number two to send the Italian through to the second round.