LYON (France), Oct 23: Home favourite Marc Gicquel caused the first major shock of the Lyon ATP Open here on Monday, knocking out second seeded Spaniard Tommy Robredo 6-4, 7-6 (7/5).
The defeat will have hit Robredo’s hopes of making the end of season Masters in Shanghai as he currently sits ninth in the world and in the ATP Masters race, in which only the top eight will travel to Shanghai.
Gicquel, 79th in the world, has a good record here, having reached the final 12 months ago. He broke serve in the 10th game of the first set to clinch it and then edged the Spaniard in the second set tie-break.
The win also helped his countryman Richard Gasquet’s hopes of making the Shanghai field.
With German number 10 Tommy Haas pulling out of the tournament with gastro-enteritis, Gasquet, 11th, has a golden opportunity to overhaul the two men directly above him in the rankings, if he puts in a good showing here. He opens against Belgian Christophe Rochus.
There was more French success for Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, world number 65, who beat American Vince Spadea 6-3, 6-4, and Julien Benneteau, 68th, is also through having beaten countryman Edouard Roger-Vasselin, 93rd, 5-7, 6-3, 6-1.
In the other game of the day, American Mardy Fish beat Spain’s seventh seed Nicolas Almagro 2-6, 6-3, 7-6.
Results (x denotes seeding):
First round: Mardy Fish (US) bt Nicolas Almagro (ESP x7) 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7/4); Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) bt Vincent Spadea (US) 6-3, 6-4; Julien Benneteau (FRA) bt Edouard Roger-Vasselin (FRA) 5-7, 6-3, 6-1; Marc Gicquel (FRA) bt Tommy Robredo (ESP x2) 6-4, 7-6 (7-5).
LINZ (Austria): Alona Bondarenko beat Martina Muller of Germany 6-3, 6-0 on Monday in the first round of the Generali Ladies.
The 23rd-ranked Bondarenko broke her opponent three times in the first set and dropped only four points on serve in the second.
The Ukrainian will next play either seventh-seeded Tatiana Golovin, who reached the final of the Zurich Open on Sunday, or Eleni Daniilidou.
Yvonne Meusburger also advanced, rallying to beat Melanie Klaffner 6-7 (2), 6-4, 6-3.
Meusburger led 3-0 before dropping the first set, but then dominated her 17-year-old opponent in the final two sets.
First round: Yvonne Meusburger (AUT) bt Melanie Klaffner (AUT) 6-7 (2/7), 6-4, 6-3; Alona Bondarenko (UKR) bt Martina Muller (GER) 6-3, 6-0.
ST PETERSBURG: Twice former winner Thomas Johansson was bundled out of the St Petersburg Open after losing to Latvian teenager Ernests Gulbis 6-2, 6-1 in the first round on Monday.
The eighth-seeded Swede, who won here in 1997 and 2005, had no answer to the power of the 47th-ranked Gulbis and bowed out after just over an hour.
Fifth seed Dmitry Tursunov of Russia edged out Austrian Juergen Melzer 7-6, 7-6 to reach the second round. Seventh-seeded German Philipp Kohlschreiber also progressed by overcoming Russian teenager Evgeny Korolev 7-6, 6-3.
Russia’s top seed Nikolay Davydenko faces Italian Filippo Volandri while Britain’s second seed Andy Murray meets Max Mirnyi of Belarus in the first-round action.
First round: Denis Matsukevitch (RUS) bt Igor Kunitsyn (RUS) 7-6 (7/2), 6-3; Boris Pashanski (SRB) bt Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (ESP) 7-6 (8/6), 6-4; Ernests Gulbis (LAT) bt Thomas Johansson (SWE x8) 6-2, 6-1; Dmitry Tursunov (RUS x5) bt Jurgen Melzer (AUT) 7-6 (8/6), 7-6 (7/0).—Agencies