ATP Marseille: Sinner, Simon, Hurkacz and Cilic advance. Khachanov bows out


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ATP Marseille: Sinner, Simon, Hurkacz and Cilic advance. Khachanov bows out

An 18-year-old Jannik Sinner is through to the second round in Marseille, beating Norbert Gombos 6-4, 7-6 after two hours and three minutes. The youngster fired nine aces and fended off all six break chances, securing one break in the opener and prevailing in the tie break of the second to find himself in the last 16.

Jannik dropped only six points behind the initial shot in the opener, earning a break at love in game ten with a forehand down the line winner to take it 6-4. The Italian had to work hard at the beginning of the second set, repelling four break chances with winners in three consecutive games, getting out of troubles at 4-4 as well before finding himself 5-3 down in the tie break.

Staying composed, Sinner grabbed three straight points to move 6-5 up with a forehand winner, sealing the deal with a service winner for the 14th ATP victory. Multiple champion Gilles Simon defeated an 18-year-old Harold Mayot 6-4, 7-6 in just under two hours, facing only two break points and controlling the pace when it mattered the most to move into the next round.

Making his ATP debut, the youngster couldn't do anything on the return in the first set, taking only two points and suffering a break at 4-5 to hand the set to the more experienced compatriot. They traded breaks in games three and four in set number two and served well in the remaining games to set up a tie break that Gilles claimed 7-3 with three mini-breaks to seal the deal and avoid spending more time on the court.

The 5th seed and 2018 champion Karen Khachanov lost to Aljaz Bedene 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 in two hours and 22 minutes of exhausting battle. The Slovenian fired 18 aces and faced only three break chances, repelling two of those and forcing Karen to produce the same numbers if he wanted to stay in contention.

The Russian defended nine out of 11 break chances, staying in touch until the very end before Aljaz broke him in game 12 to cross the finish line first. After taking the opener, Karen lost the ground on the return, earning 19 points in the remaining 11 return games and creating just one break chance that Bedene successfully erased to keep the pressure on the other side of the net and sealing the deal before the deciding tie break.

Struggling with a knee injury, Marin Cilic ousted a qualifier Ilya Ivashka 3-6, 7-6, 6-4 in two hours and 23 minutes, repelling six out of nine break opportunities and prevailing in the second set tie break to stay alive.

The Croat raced into a 5-1 lead in the decider before finishing the job in the tenth game, still searching for his best tennis but at least making a winning start. The 8th seed Hubert Hurkacz needed just over an hour to dismiss Antoine Hoang 6-4, 6-1, dominating with his first serve and delivering five breaks to secure the win in style.

Vasek Pospisil toppled the young Finn Emil Ruusuvuori 7-6, 6-3 in an hour and 29 minutes, getting broken once and clinching two breaks to prevail in straight sets.