Felix Auger-Aliassime is one of the most promising youngsters on the ATP Tour but is yet to find his best tennis in 2020, heading to Montpellier with three wins and making a winning start following a 6-7, 6-2, 6-2 triumph over a qualifier Damir Dzumhur.
The encounter lasted for two and a half hours and Felix had the upper hand in sets two and three, delivering six breaks from 14 chances and suffering two from six opportunities offered to the Bosnian who fought well in the opener before losing ground against the higher-ranked opponent.
They traded early breaks in games two and three before Damir survived tough eighth game to stay in contention, taking the tie break 7-5 for a huge roar and a big step towards the win. With no room for errors, Felix served well in set number two and delivered breaks in games five and seven, securing the set with a service winner at 5-2 and racing into a 5-1 advantage in set number three with three straight breaks.
Serving for the victory in the eighth game, Auger-Aliassime saved three break chances to seal the deal and make a winning start, hoping for a strong campaign and the first ATP title following three finals he lost in 2019.
In the battle of the youngsters, Mikael Ymer toppled Jannik Sinner 6-3, 6-4 in an hour and 25 minutes for his eighth ATP indoor win. The Italian has been struggling so far in the new season and today wasn't his day either, getting broken four times and not being able to keep the pace with an in-form rival who almost defeated Karen Khachanov in the second round of the Australian Open.
Mikael hit the zone on serve from the very first ball, delivering five great holds and breaking Jannik already in the second game for a 6-3. They traded four back-to-back breaks in set number two and it was the Swede who grabbed the third straight at 3-3, finishing the job with a hold at love in game ten to move into the second round.
The 7th seed Filip Krajinovic lost serve twice against Enzo Couacaud ina 6-4, 6-4 victory, stealing the Frenchman's serve four times to reach the next round. Enzo made a perfect start with a 3-0 lead, unable to stay on the same level and allowing the Serb to take six of the next seven games and wrap up the opener 6-4.
Filip broke twice in set number two, delivering the crucial return game at 3-3 and moving over the top with rock-solid holds in games eight and ten. Pierre-Hugues Herbert defeated Sergiy Stakhovsky 6-2, 7-5, playing well in his service games and creating 12 chances on the return, seizing four to control the scoreboard and crossing the finish line despite some setbacks in the closing stages of the second set and two match points he wasted in game nine.
The 20-year-old Finnish qualifier Emil Ruusuvuori earned the first victory at the ATP events, overpowering Dennis Novak 7-6, 4-6, 6-2 in an hour and 58 minutes. Trailing 5-2 in the first set, the youngster saved a set point on the return in game nine to stay alive, stealing the set 7=3 in the tie break when the Austrian sprayed a backhand error.
Novak served better in set number two, sailing through his five games and breaking Emil at 1-1 to keep the advantage until 5-4 when he held at 15 with a service winner to bring a decider. There, Ruusuvuori grabbed the last four games at 2-2, landing a forehand winner for a break in game six and advancing with another one at 5-2 for the place in the final 16.