The MercedesCup at Stuttgart’s Weissenhof truly kicked off on Tuesday.
Marin Cilic, one of the big names, started his campaign for the Stuttgart title with an easy win. The 32-year old US Open champion from 2014 and current no. 47 in the world rankings, beat 20-year old Rudi Molleker in straight sets 7-5, 6-3. The German had entered the main draw thanks to a wildcard, but wasn’t able to keep up with the veteran from Croatia.
In the match before, yet another German had to bow out of the tournament. 36-year old Dustin Brown, also a wildcard player, didn’t find his bearings at the start of his match against Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO/ATP 31). He conceded two quick breaks but was finally able to conduct his match plan and keep up with the strong Georgian, especially in the second set. In the end, Basilashvili one in straight sets, 6-3, 7-6 (4). However, for Brown it was only a first step back in his comeback: “I didn’t play a lot in the past two years because of a back injury I suffered after I had my run here in Stuttgart. It took me until January to get back on the tour and then Corona happened. I haven’t had any troubles since last summer, but the back won’t ever be the same again.”
Also in the next round: Frenchman Ugo Humbert, the tournament’s number 6, beating Hungarian Marton Fucsovics 6-3, 6-1, and Lloyd Harris (RSA) after a straight set win (6-4, 7-5) against Gilles Simon (FRA).
There was still one German singles victory to celebrate as Peter Gojowczyk won his final qualifying match easily 6-2, 6-4 against Frenchman Gregoire Barrere and now has a spot in the main draw.