Alongside the St Petersburg Open, the ATP World Tour is also based in France this week. The Moselle Open in Metz attracts a stronger looking field on paper despite being a 250 like the Russian event. Past champions include Ivan Ljubicic and Novak Djokovic while Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is looking to win the event for the third year running as he makes his return from injury in his home country.
Check out the Full Draw HERE: ATP Metz Draw
Tsonga (Profile), as one of the top four seeds, gets a bye into the second round and begins against either Federico Delbonis or Edouard Roger-Vasselin. Tsonga will looks highly likely to win this event as long as he is fit but it’s hard to predict how he will recover after being out for almost three months with injury. Delbonis had a great summer but his runs came too late to gain direct entry into the US Open despite being ranked in the top 70 and so he had to qualify and failed. Delbonis rarely plays on hard courts so it’s hard to see past Roger-Vasselin taking victory here. He defeated Delbonis on their only meeting indoors in Rennes Challenger. Tobias Kamke and Jeremy Chardy both faces qualifiers for the chance to meet each other. The list of players still in contention to qualify includes Marc Gicquel, Michael Berrer and the Zverevs – Alexander and Mischa.
In the second quarter, Germans Philipp Kohlschreiber (Profile) and Florian Mayer come off helping the Germans to victory in Davis Cup with straight sets wins indoors over Brazilian opponents. Fourth seed Kohlschreiber faces either Carlos Berlocq or Jiri Vesely – both of which lost in matches for their teams in the Argentina/Czech Republic tie although for Vesely it was a dead rubber. Both players are actually far more at home on the clay so Berlocq’s experience may tell. Mayer plays a qualifier with either Lukas Lacko or Andreas Haider-Maurer in the next round. Haider-Maurer was scheduled to play Davis Cup at the weekend but fell ill and may struggle against Lacko if suffering the effects still. Lacko has shown his competence indoors at the Challenger level picking up titles in both 2011 and 2012.
The bottom half of the draw is French-heavy with six home players involved and three more competing for the one qualifier spot. Benoit Paire is one of the two that are seeded and begins with Benjamin Becker. Becker lost from a break up in the final set of his quarter final with Paul Henri-Mathieu in Petange only weeks after having set point against Djokovic at the US Open. Paire should come through but is always difficult to call. Big serving Albano Olivetti made his name on French indoor courts last year but injuries derailed his progress, a wildcard is a nice draw for him to begin. Andreas Seppi (Profile) awaits the winner of Nicolas Mahut and Leonardo Mayer in round two. Mahut was half of the winning doubles team last year but made just the second round last year.
Tiebreaks look extremely likely between Sam Querrey and Ivo Karlovic given the massive serves both players possess. Querrey leads the head to head 4-3, with the most recent meeting taken by the American 6-4 6-3 in Indian Wells. Igor Sijsling or 2008 finalist Paul Henri-Mathieu await in round two. Mathieu made the final of Petange but lost in three sets having taken the first 6-1. 2010 winner Gilles Simon (Profile) rounds off the draw as second seed courtesy of a late wildcard. Simon actually has a strong indoor record going 17-7 over the past two years and should improve on it here. Jesse Huta Galung has struggled to establish himself on the main tour while Kenny de Schepper is in dire form having lost his last eight matches. Galung won the only meeting earlier in the year on the French indoor court of St Brieuc Challenger.
SF – Tsonga def. Kohlschreiber
SF – Simon def. Paire
F – Tsonga def. Simon