An all-French second round contest takes place at the Open Sud de France, as top seed Richard Gasquet meets wildcard entrant Paul-Henri Mathieu for a place in the quarter-final round. This marks the seventh time the two competitors will meet on the professional tour, with Gasquet leading the head-to-head series 4-2.
French No. 1 Richard Gasquet has had a moderate start to his 2014 season. The top seed reached the second round in Doha, losing to fellow Frenchman Gael Monfils, and then arrived in Melbourne, where he lost to Tommy Robredo in the third round. Gasquet followed up by representing his team at the Davis Cup tie against Australia, where defeated Australian youngster Nick Kyrgios in the first rubber to help France secure their 5-0 win.
As the top seed in the Open Sud de France, Gasquet recieved a bye into the second round of the tournament and will now face fellow Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu for a spot in the quarter-finals.
Playing his first ATP World Tour event of the season, world No. 140 Mathieu was given a wildcard entry into the Montpellier Open, where he defeated Nicholas Mahut in the opening round to set up a clash with the French No. 1. Mathieu rushed to a 5-0 lead in the opening set before securing it 6-1, and would win the match less than 20 minutes later when Mahut would retire down 0-3 in the second set.
Mathieu won this ATP World Tour 250 indoor hard court tournament in 2002, when it was staged in Lyon, beating Gustavo Kuertenin the final.
This match could quite possibly be a competitive and entertaining affair. Mathieu has won two of his past three meetings with Gasquet, but his latest win came in 2009. He trails 2-4 in the overall head-to-head to Gasquet yet the two competitors have not met since a 2010 indoor encounter in Metz. It will be interesting to see if Gasquet can impose his will on his fellow countryman early on, or if the 2002 champion is capable of yet another upset.