Ugo Humbert, the holder of the ATP tournament title in Halle, went through the first round on Monday after a very rude battle against Moldovan Radu Albot, 116th in the world from qualifiers.
The French prevailed 6-7 (4-7), 7-6 (7-4), 7-5 in 2 hours 44 minutes, at the end of a match where no player could take the service of the other, except in the last game of the 3rd set.
The stakes are high this week for World 50th Humbert, who has not won in all six matches or is heading into his quarter -finals at the Tokyo Olympics last August.
The 23 -year -old must indeed defend the 500 points of his victory last year, without which he would fall behind in the 100th place in the world rankings.
But his course is particularly arduous, with in the order of appearance in his table, if the hierarchy was respected, the Polish Hubert Hurkacz (World No. 12), the Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime (No. 9) and the Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas (N.6).
The first round on the other hand was fatal to Russian Andrey Rublev (N8), exit exit for Georgia Nicoloz Basilashvili (N25).