ATP Metz: Filip Krajinovic, Fernando Verdasco and Antoine Hoang reach R2



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ATP Metz: Filip Krajinovic, Fernando Verdasco and Antoine Hoang reach R2

The 23-year-old Antoine Hoang has used the wild card in Metz with both hands, beating Cedrik-Marcel Stebe 6-2, 6-3 in an hour and 11 minutes for the fifth ATP win in a career. Serving at 72%, the French player lost 15 points in nine service games, fending off both break chances to keep the pressure on Stebe who couldn't endure it, suffering three breaks to end his run in the first round.

Hoang saved those two break points in the very first game of the match, settling into a fine rhythm after that and taking the last four games from 2-2 to grab the set 6-2. Cedrik-Marcel couldn't do much on the return in set number two, getting broken in the fourth game and allowing Antoine to seal the deal with a hold in game nine.

The 5th seed Fernando Verdasco took down Steve Darcis 6-2, 6-2 in 68 minutes, beating the Belgian for the fourth time in as many encounters. The Spaniard landed 76% of the first serve in and dropped 14 points behind the initial shot, fending off the only break point he faced and mounting the pressure on the other side of the net.

From 2-1 down, Fernando won five straight games to close the first set, earning a break in game five and another one at love at 4-2 to increase the lead and seal the opener with three service winners in game eight. Steve sprayed a backhand error in the third game of the second set and sealed his fate with a loose forehand four games later that sent Fernando 5-2 in front.

Serving for the victory, the Spaniard hit four winners in game eight to seal the deal and advance into the second round. World no. 49 Filip Krajinovic ousted a former Metz champion Peter Gojowczyk 7-5, 6-4 in an hour and 23 minutes, defending his serve nicely and earning one break in each set to move over the top and enter the last 16.

After seven commanding holds on both sides, Filip saved two break chances with winners at 3-4, wasting a break point in the next game and having to play against a set point in game ten, saving it when Peter sent a forehand long.

The German sprayed another forehand error in the next game to suffer a break at 15, with Krajinovic taking the opener 7-5 after four winners in game 12. The Serb had the momentum on his side, dropping only eight points on serve in the second set and earning a break at 2-2 when Gojowczyk hit a double fault.

Serving at 5-4, Filip blasted three winners to cross the finish line and make a winning start, setting the second-round clash with Fernando Verdasco.