Seppi and Mahut enter second round in Metz

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Andreas Seppi comes back after a set down, while Nicolas Mahut plays two tough sets to advance into second round at Moselle Open in Metz.

It is rare to see a player losing seven serves, and still winning the match. Both fifth seed Italian Seppi and his first round adversary Ivan Dodig of Croatia were, to say the least, insecure with their serving. Seppi, who was victorious in Belgrade earlier this year, achieved three breaks and suffered as many re-breaks in the opening set. The story continued in the subsequent tie-break. Both of the players lost three serves by 5-5 and wasted a set ball in the following rallies. Finally, Dodig grabbed another mini-break at 7-7 and wrapped up the set next.

The basic pattern of the second set was identical to the first one with the Italian seizing breaks and the Croat chasing him down. Nevertheless, Seppi managed to serve out the set right after taking his rival’s serve for the third time. The third set brought another festival of converted break points. Only Seppi was able to hold his serve in the opening five games which meant he was leading 4-1. He did give away one more serve later on, but stayed focused enough to squeeze through to the last sixteen with 6-7 (7), 6-3, 6-4. His first serve percentage was rather low, but still slightly better than Dodig’s (58% -55%).

Contrary to the aforementioned clash, French Mahut and Daniel Brands of Germany stuck to their serves, even though they had to face an odd break ball. The trend was further reflected in both of the tie-breaks as the level of serving remained as high as in previous games. Interestingly, Mahut conceded a mini-break first on both occasions, but bounced back to steal an extremely tight match with 7-6 (8), 7-6 (4).

Brands’s countrymen Florian Mayer and Philipp Kohlschreiber were given a bye in the first round.

Second round pairs in the bottom part of the draw:

Andreas Seppi/5 (Ita) – Vincent Millot (Fra)

James Blake (USA) – Florian Mayer/5 (Ger)

Gaël Monfils/7 (Fra) – Nicolas Mahut (Fra)

Benoit Paire (Fra) – Philipp Kohlschreiber/2 (Ger)

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