Sixth seed Richard Gasquet came close to falling at the first hurdle at the Lyon Open as he saved two match points before battling to victory over Maxime Janvier.
The all-French affair went down to the wire and the more experienced Gasquet came out on top of the two hour and 45 minute clash, beating the qualifier 6-7 (5-7), 6-2, 7-6 (7-2).
Gasquet broke in game six of the decider, but Janvier won four games in a row and then found himself serving for the match at 6-5. He twice had match points, but his compatriot saved both to break back and take it to the tie-breaker.
The 32-year-old then ran away with things to set up a second-round clash against Taylor Fritz after the American beat Jiri Vesely 7-5, 7-6 (7-3).
“It was very tough. He’s a good player. He’s very powerful, he played well, he served good. So of course it was very tough for me,” Gasquet said.
“But I tried my best. It’s only my fourth match in 2019 so of course it’s tough for me, but I’ll try to recover as soon as I can. And of course I tried my best and it’s great for me to win.”
British No 2 Cameron Norrie made an early exit as he suffered a 6-1, 6-3 defeat at the hands of Ugo Humbert, who will face third seed Denis Shapovalov for a place in the quarter-final.
“I stayed in my playing identity, which means hitting hard. I strike fast and play fast, so during the first rallies of the game, I knew what to do, and I’m happy for having played a complete game,” Humbert said.
He added:”I’m very happy as it’s been a while since I played this well on clay. I know I can do it. I trained well last week with a lot of serenity and confidence. I felt really good on the court.”
In another all-French clash, seventh seed Pierre-Hugues Herbert beat Jeremy Chardy 6-2, 7-5 to book a clash against Steve Johnson, who was a 6-2, 7-6 (7-2) winner over Lloyd Harris from South Africa.
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