Molcan Moves Past 'Legend' Tsonga In Lyon Opener

Humbert and Kwon advance

Competing at the Open Parc Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes Lyon for the last time Monday, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga’s finale at the ATP 250 event was spoiled by Alex Molcan.

Frenchman Tsonga, who will retire after Roland Garros, lifted the trophy in Lyon in 2017 and reached the semi-finals in 2007 and 2008. However, the former World No. 5 was unable to match Molcan’s intensity in their first-round clash, suffering a 6-4, 6-4 defeat on home soil in one hour and 32 minutes.

World No. 47 Molcan enjoyed a run to the final in Marrakech in April and he played with confidence against Tsonga, using the drop shot effectively to set up a second-round meeting against fifth seed Karen Khachanov or French qualifier Gilles Simon.

"I am really happy I won today. It was a pleasure to play against Jo," Molcan said in his on-court interview. "He is a legend of the sport and I am really happy I could play him at least once in my career. I remember him playing, he was unbelievable. The emotions, everything."

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In an all-French meeting, Ugo Humbert snapped a three-match losing streak, downing qualifier Gregoire Barrere 6-3, 6-4 in 75 minutes to reach the second round In Lyon for the second time. The World No. 45 will next meet Australian Alex de Minaur.

In other action, Soonwoo Kwon saved a match point, before downing Aljaz Bedene 4-6, 7-6(4), 6-0, while Germany’s Oscar Otte defeated French wild card Lucas Pouille 6-3, 6-1.

Kwon will next play eighth seed Pedro Martinez or lucky loser Yosuke Watanuki, with Otte facing Estoril champion Sebastian Baez or Argentine qualifier Tomas Martin Etcheverry.

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