Monfils Shocks Cecchinato In Hamburg
The 2011 quarter-finalist broke in the final game of the match to stun sixth-seeded Cecchinato after one hour and 40 minutes. Cecchinato entered Hamburg in great form, having reached a career-high No. 22 in the ATP Rankings after lifting his second tour-level trophy of the season in Umag last week.
The 31-year-old Frenchman put 95 per cent of first serves into court and converted three of his five break-point chances to secure victory. Qatar ExxonMobil Open champion Monfils has now won 22 of his 35 tour-level encounters this season.
"I was very good in my movement, but also my serve," said Monfils. "I like to serve with a little bit less speed, [reach] his backhand and try to control the court with my forehand, so I was happy with that."
"It is going to be a tough [match]," said Monfils. "We played once this year and it was very tough, so I'll expect a tough one tomorrow."
SkiStar Swedish Open runner-up Richard Gasquet also progressed to the second round in northern Germany. The seventh seed beat countryman Benoit Paire 7-5, 6-3 to record his 25th tour-level win of the season.
The 2005 finalist now owns a 6-1 FedEx ATP Head2Head record against Paire, who emerged victorous in their last encounter at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia in May. Gasquet will meet Nicolas Jarry for a place in the quarter-finals. The Brasil Open finalist cruised past home favourite Peter Gojowczyk 6-1, 6-2 in 52 minutes.
Fernando Verdasco continued his strong form to edge Dusan Lajovic 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(5). Verdasco, who had won just one of four previous FedEx ATP Head2Head encounters against the Serbian, fired six aces and won 70 per cent of first-serve points.