Argentine Francisco Cerundolo produces a comeback victory over Stockholm champion and home favorite Gael Monfils to move through the second round at the Rolex Paris Masters on Tuesday.
World No. 21 Francisco Cerundolo held off two-time runner-up Gael Monfils 4-6, 7-6(2), 7-5 after two hours and 42 minutes at the Palais Omnisports in Bercy, Paris.
The Frenchman, who earlier this month claimed his 12th career title on tour, his first of the season at the Nordic Open in Stockholm, Sweden, graced the Central Court with his tennis, fighting spirit, and charisma, contesting the last Masters 1000 tournament of the year.
A packed Accor Arena witnessed the 37-year-old, making his 11th appearance at the event, face the Lyon finalist for a place in the second round at the Rolex Paris Masters.
Monfils worked hard to pocket the first set 6-4 in 43 minutes; he failed to serve out the opener broken at 5-4, recovering quickly to shut the door and seal the win in his second attempt.
He converted 3 of 7 breakpoint opportunities, firing ten winners and committing nine unforced errors compared to Cerundolo’s 7 to 16, respectively.
The 25-year-old regrouped, breaking in the third game of the second set, extending his advantage to 3-1.
Nonetheless, the local hero recovered lost ground to the delight of the Parisian fans, drawing level by breaking his rival and held to lead 5-4.
Then, both players stayed strong behind their serve – Cerundolo saved a set point in the 10th game – heading into a second-set tiebreak, which the Buenos Aires native played nearly flawlessly, wrapping up 7-6(2) to even the match at one set apiece.
Monfils broke to open the third set, and wise on return, he held onto his advantage until Cerundolo found his rhythm, winning 10 points in a row to square 4-4.
A dramatic ninth game saw the Parisian-born rallying to halt the Eastbourne champion charge, saving two match points and holding at 5-5 in the process, but eventually, the resilient Argentine, who fought back from 2-4 down, notched the set 7-5 and the match, progressing to the second round in the City of Lights.
On Wednesday, the two-time ATP titlist will meet eighth seed Casper Ruud, who will open his campaign at the event against the Argentine player.
They are tied 2-2 in their series, having faced one another for the last time in Rome, a quarterfinal match the World No. 8 took in straight sets in May.