Pablo Carreno Busta has made the best possible start in Metz, defeating a qualifier Julian Lenz 6-1, 6-1 in 57 minutes for the 15th ATP indoor victory. The Spaniard lost 15 points in seven service games, never getting broken and stealing 60% of the return points to grab five breaks, rattling off five straight games in the first and six in the second set to move over the top in no time at all for the 18th triumph in 2019.
Aljaz Bedene toppled a tall Frenchman Rayane Roumane 6-4, 6-4 in an hour and 14 minutes, dropping only 12 points on serve against a teenager who made his ATP debut in this match. Rayane hit 11 aces but that wasn't enough to keep him safe, struggling on the second serve and giving two service games away to propel Aljaz through.
Unchallenged behind the initial shot, Bedene broke early in both sets and controlled the pace in the remaining games to sail into the last 16, improving his score in 2019 to 13-14. The finalist in Metz from 15 years ago, Richard Gasquet had to dig deep to oust Marcel Granollers 4-6, 7-6, 6-4 in two hours and 35 minutes, staying focused in the pivotal moments for the fourth win over the Spaniard in as many encounters.
There were four breaks in total, two in the closing stages of the second set when Gasquet gained a 5-3 lead before Marcel pulled it back to reach the tie break that could have sent him over the finish line. Gasquet claimed it 7-5 to extend the clash, earning a break in game seven of the decider that notched the triumph for him, serving well and emerging at the top for a good start.
Playing in Athens on clay last week for his Poland, Hubert Hurkacz had no time to switch his game to the indoor hard court, suffering a 6-2, 6-2 loss to Gregoire Barrere in 59 minutes, allowing the home player to grab the fifth ATP victory.
Barrere fended off all five break chances and scored a couple of breaks in each set to march into the second round, happy with the way he performed against the rival who was far from his 100%. Lorenzo Sonego defeated Oscar Otte 6-2, 7-6 while Pierre-Hugues Herbert ousted the 8th seed Jan-Lennard Struff 7-6, 6-4 in a mighty close encounter that saw only three breaks.
The three-time Metz champion Jo-Wilfried Tsonga overcame a slow start to topple Pablo Andujar 3-6, 6-1 6-2, taking charge in sets two and three where he lost only ten points on serve, facing no break points and stealing the Spaniard's serve twice in each set to race towards the finish line and the place in the second round.