World no. 104 Norbert Gombos is through to the second round in Montpellier, beating the 6th seed Pablo Carreno Busta 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 in an hour and 43 minutes. The Slovak fired nine aces and made the difference with his second serve, getting broken three times and delivering four breaks to cross the finish line first.
They traded breaks in the opening games of the match, with Carreno Busta earning another one to move 3-1 up, fending off three break chances in the next game to close the opener with a hold at 5-3. The second set saw rock-solid serving from both and a break at love for Gombos at 5-4, stealing the set and gathering a massive boost ahead of set number three where the Spaniard drew first blood with a break at 1-1.
Still, Norbert pulled it back in the very next game, fended off two break chances in game five and grabbed another break that sent him 4-2 in front, wasting a match point on the return at 5-2 before sealing the deal on own serve a few minutes later.
Gregoire Barrere took down Joao Sousa 6-2, 7-6 in an hour and 47 minutes, earning the second victory of the season after the first one in Melbourne. Standing strong in the decisive moments, Barrere erased seven out of eight break points to keep the pressure on the other side of the court, earning three breaks to bring the victory home in straight sets and set the clash against Grigor Dimitrov.
There were chances for both in the last four games of the opening set and it was the Frenchman who played on a high level when it mattered the most, holding in games five and seven and securing breaks right after that for a 6-2.
They broke each other in games four and five of set number two, wasting more opportunities in the next couple of games and producing efficient serving in the rest of the set to reach a tie break where Sousa moved 6-2 in front.
Out of sudden, Barrere rattled off the next six points to make a perfect escape and avoid the deciding set. Using a protected ranking, Vasek Pospisil defeated Aljaz Bedene 6-3, 6-4 in an hour and 16 minutes, repelling all five break chances and stealing the Slovenian's serve once in each set to move into the last 16.
Vasek had to work hard at 2-2 in the opener when Bedene squandered four of those break chances, with the Canadian breaking at love in the next game to open a 4-2 gap. Serving well in the remaining two games, Vasek clinched the opener 6-3 and gained momentum ahead of set number two where he scored a break at 3-3, emerging at the top with a comfortable hold at 5-4 that pushed him over the finish line.