Korda Kick-Starts Metz Bid As Wawrinka Reaches Main Draw
The World No. 49 held firm against his former #NextGenATP rival Hugo Gaston on Monday to secure a 6-3, 7-6(2) first-round victory at the ATP 250 tournament in France. It is Korda's first indoor event since he reached the final of the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan last November, when he squeezed past the Frenchman in five sets en route to championship match.
Korda was given a similarly stern test by Gaston in Metz on Monday. The The 22-year-old fended off two set points when trailing 5-6 in the second set as Gaston ramped up the pressure in front of his home fans, but after digging deep to hold serve Korda carried the momentum with him into the tie-break. He opened a 5/1 lead that proved unassailable as he sealed a one-hour, 37-minute victory on tournament debut.
Awaiting Korda in the second round is another player he beat in Milan 10 months ago, Lorenzo Musetti. Despite that defeat in his home country, Hamburg champion Musetti leads Korda 2-1 in their ATP Head2Head series.
In the day’s other main draw clash, Lorenzo Sonego upset sixth seed Aslan Karatsev 7-5, 6-3 to reach the second round in Metz for the third time. Sonego notched two breaks of his opponent’s serve in each set to register his first tour-level victory against Karatsev in four attempts. The Italian will next take on the winner of Tuesday’s matchup between David Goffin and home favourite Gilles Simon.
The 16-time tour-level titlist Wawrinka found his rhythm after dropping the first-set tie-break against the World No. 160 Piros. The Swiss saved all four break points he faced and converted five from nine of his own opportunities to break serve to complete a one-hour, 55-minute win in north-eastern France.
Wawrinka is competing in Metz for the first time since 2015, when he reached the quarter-finals. The former World No. 3 is seeking to build some form after enduring a tough run of results since returning to the Tour in April following 13 months out with a foot injury. He will take on Joao Sousa in the first round of the main draw, with the winner to face a second-round showdown with top seed Daniil Medvedev.