Three-time grand slam winner Stan Wawrinka failed to win his first match at the European Open and is eliminated. Frenchman Richard Gasquet won in three sets. Ruben Bemelmans was unable to achieve anything in his farewell tournament. He lost against the duo Nys/Zielinski in the doubles alongside Alexander Blockx.
Richard Gasquet (ATP-82) got the better of Stan Wawrinka (ATP-193) in his first match. Both experienced tennis players showed some nice tennis at times. The first set started very evenly. At 2-2 Gasquet had two break point chances, but Wawrinka did not give in and still won the match. The Swiss replied with two break points, the first of which was the right one: 4-2. Wawrinka continued his momentum and didn’t let Gasquet back into the match: 6-2 in the first set.
The second set remained balanced. Once again, they unpacked some smart games, Wawrinka was able to entertain the crowd with some nice backhands and Gasquet also delighting the Lotto Arena with some very smart shots. He waited for a tie-break to take the decision. Gasquet gave Wawrinka no breathing space and won the tie-break 6-7(4).
The third set was set to be in the best of moods. Wawrinka took the first point of the set from the Frenchman. At 2-1, Gasquet had three chances to break. In vain, as it became 3-1. But: Gasquet concedes and goes through Wawrinka’s serve: 3-3. Gasquet didn’t let it go and won 4-6.
Bemelmans and Blockx were up against Hugo Nys (ATP D-44) and Jan Zielinksi (ATP D-35). The Belgians had to admit their superiority in the first set 0-6. In the second set things went better for the Belgian duo, but Nys and Zielinksi did not give up: 2-6. Bemelmans ended his career in front of his own audience. He will now continue to coach at Tennis Vlaanderen.
Last year’s semi-finalist Jenson Brooksby from the United States was surprisingly eliminated in the first round against Jack Draper from England. The American had a hard time getting into his rhythm, after 28 minutes it was already 6-1 in favour of Draper. In the second set Brooksby could only win two games and after 1 hour and 1 minute of play it was 6-2 for the Englishman, who hit his shots with a nice acceleration from time to time. That other Briton, Daniel Evans, won his opening match against Tallon Griekspoor 6-3, 6-4.
At the Chocolate Nation Chocolate Museum, the official start of the European Open was given earlier on Monday. David Goffin (ATP-58), Hubert Hurkacz (ATP-11) and Karen Khachanov (ATP-18) literally signed off as the trio put their signatures on a chocolate tennis ball. A video of the media day can be viewed and shared here.