Mixed Fortunes for Trio of French Qualifiers @MoselleOpen
Adam Addicott, Tennis Atlantic
With over half the qualifying draw consisting of French players, it was unsurprising that the majority of qualifiers for the Main draw of the Metz Open are French.
Leading them into the main draw was world number 141 Kenny De Schepper. The 28-year-old eased himself past two French players in his quarter. In the first round, he came through two close sets against Hugo Nys. Nys is ranked 439th in the world and won one Futures title in Egypt earlier this year. Following his triumph over Nys, Schepper faced fifth seed Constant Lestienne for a place in the main draw. Lestienne achieved a landmark in his career earlier this year by qualifying for his first ATP main draw at the Estoril Open in Portugal. During the 71-minute match, Schepper didn’t drop his serve as he eased to the 7-5, 6-3, win.
In the main draw Schepper faced another qualifier, Édouard Roger-Vasselin. Roger-Vasselin dropped eight games to book his place in his fifth main draw at the tournament. Since 2010 he has claimed just one victory in the main draw of the tournament, which was against Federico Delbonis in 2013. Throughout qualifying he beat New Zealand’s Michael Venus before crushing Enzo Couacaud in the final round. Playing 20-year-old Couacaud, Roger-Vasselin cruised to the 6-1, 6-1, win in less than an hour.
Despite the two being regulars on the tour for some time (Roger-Vasselin in 31 and Schepper in 28), this was their first meeting. With 27 places separating the two players, their first round match was a close encounter. Roger-Vasselin booked his place in the second round after edging out his countryman 6-4, 7-6(2). During the match a costly drop of service in the third game of the match resulted in Schepper losing the first set. The second set was a closer encounter with both players matching each other until 6-6. The closeness suddenly faded away at 2-2 in the tie-break when Roger-Vasselin claimed five consecutive points to take the match. This is his first main draw win in an ATP 250 event since Newport in July.
The third French qualifier was Vincent Millot. The 29-year-old won his first Challenger title in four years earlier this year in Granby. During qualifying Millot eased his way past little known player Tom Schönenberg (world No.694) to set up a showdown with countryman Maxime Teixeira. After a slow start to the match where he was trailing 1-3 in the first set, Millot clawed his way to win 7-5, 6-4.
In the main draw Millot faced another French player, 7th seed Adrian Mannarino. Mannarino is currently ranked 39th in the world and has reached the final at two ATP tournaments (Auckland and Bogota). Millot was unable to cause a shock in Metz as he lost in straight sets, 6-2,7-5.
The only exception to the French qualifier list was Germany’s Mischa Zverev. In his final qualifying match he played fellow countryman Daniel Brands. Brands, who reached a ranking high of 51 in 2013, were sidelined from the tour during 2014 due to mononucleosis but has won 2 Future titles in 2015. Zverev endured tricky match against Brands as he took it 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.
Throughout 2015 Zverev has played the majority of matches in the qualifying stages. Prior to this week the 28-year-old has played 14 main draw matches, winning five of them. Despite this he continued his winning streak from qualifying into the main draw as he defeated Pablo Carreño Busta in the first round. The German took the match 6-2,6-7(3),6-1, to set up a second round showdown with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.