Gilles Simon recovered from a set and a break down to defeat countryman Antoine Hoang 5-7, 6-3, 6-3 at the Open 13 Provence on Monday.
“I expected a tough match and I’m very happy that I won,” said Simon. “I’ve won a couple of matches after being a set and a break down, so I didn’t feel like I was close to losing.”
The 34-year-old Frenchman, who lifted the trophy in 2007 and 2015, saved eight of 11 break points to record his 25th win in 35 matches at the ATP 250 event in Marseille. The 23-year-old wild card Hoang led Simon 7-5, 2-0 on Court Central, on his tournament debut, before falling to the two-time former champion after two hours and 14 minutes.
Simon will meet Peter Gojowczyk or Damir Dzumhur for a place in the quarter-finals. The sixth seed trails Gojowczyk 0-1 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series and lost his only previous FedEx ATP Head2Head encounter against Dzumhur at Winston-Salem in 2017.
Hubert Hurkacz fired 13 aces to defeat Filip Krajinovic 6-3, 6-2. The 2018 Next Gen ATP Finals qualifier notched his first tour-level victory of the 2019 ATP Tour season after 65 minutes, saving all eight break points he faced to reach the second round.
Hurkacz will meet top seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in the second round. Hurkacz and Tsitsipas met for the first time in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series at the Next Gen ATP Finals last year, with eventual champion Tsitsipas prevailing in straight sets.
The final match on Monday’s schedule saw Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan save all seven break points he faced to defeat American Denis Kudla 6-3, 6-3. Next up for Kukushkin is fourth seed Denis Shapovalov of Canada.