• Chris Sobey


There’s no major news to report from this weeks ATP 250 tournaments at Metz and St Petersburg with just a handful of first round matches being played so far. At Metz former top ten and French number one star Tsonga lost a close three set match 6-7 6-3 6-4 against German Gojowczyk on his return from an extended injury lay-off. French Wild Card Humbert upset Aussie qualifier Tomic in a close three set match and German Lucky Loser Maden knocked out veteran compatriot Mischa Zverev.

At St Petersburg yesterday, there were three Russian players in action at but only eighth seed Medvedev was good enough to make it through to the second round and it was an impressive straight sets win against the experienced veteran Sousa. Rublev lost against German Struff in straight sets and Klizan (advised 45/1) knocked out Donskoy in straight sets.

The impressive in form young Italian Berrettini continued his good form winning a tough first round encounter against the experienced veteran Garcia-Lopez in three sets. Reigning champion and sixth seed Dzhumur won his opener against the little known Austrian qualifier Miedler and Wild Card and veteran Wawrinka won a tough first round encounter against Bedene.

Of the remaining first round matches to be completed today the best ones from a competitive and entertainment factor could be at Metz and the all French encounter between Wild Card Halys and the unseeded Paire, who are playing for the first time. The first round encounter between veteran French star Simon and Czech Vesely should be a quality match between two in form players with contrasting styles of play and sixth seed Frenchman Mannarino will face a tough test against the talented big hitting Hungarian Fucsovics.

At St Petersburg Basic (advised 125/1) faces Russian veteran Youzhny in his opener and it’s likely to be a hard fought close encounter which is a tough one to call. The all veteran cash between Kukushkin and Istomin, who are playing for the tenth time on the ATP Tour, has the potential to be a high quality explosive affair between two big hitters. Fifth seed Bautista Agut, who received a Wild Card, faces veteran qualifier Italian Vanni for the first time, seventh seed and NextGen star Shapovalov faces a tricky opener against qualifier and veteran Mendez-Macieras and the talented young qualifier Ivashka faces a tough opener against the experienced Pella from Argentina.

The first round action continues today and should be completed by the end of play and the top four seeds who all received first round byes, start joining the action from today if they have a second round opponent. From the second round matches known at the time of writing top-seed Nishikori was due to face Gojowczyk for the first time, second seed NextGen star Tsitsipas was due to face the experienced Berankis for the first time, third Pouille (advised 9/1) faces German qualifier Bachinger for the first time, fourth seed veteran French star Gasquet (advised 7/1) faces compatriot qualifier Lestienne for the first time and fifth seed Basilashivili will face young French Wild Card Humbert.

At St Petersburg top-seed Thiem will face German Struff for the fourth time, a place in the quarter finals and the Austrian leads the head-to-head 2-1. Second seed and two-time St Petersburg finalist Fognini is due to face Klizan (advised 45/1) and Fognini leads the head-to-head 4-2. Third seed Cecchinato faces a tough opener against experienced veteran Lacko who won their only previous encounter at Eastbourne this year. Fourth seed Khachanov could not have been handed a much tough opener against experienced veteran Wawrinka.



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