Already the first match of this year’s MercedesCup saw a favorite stumble and, ultimately, fall. 17 year old Rudolf Molleker (ATP 303), who got into the main draw with a wild card, beat fellow countryman Jan-Lennard Struff (28/ATP 65) after 1:55 hours in three sets, thus preventing Struff from a re-match with last year’s winner Lucas Pouille (24/ATP 17), who will prove to be an even harder opponent for Mollecker in the second round.
Molleker won the first set by getting a late break at 4-4, “after that I just believed in my strengths”, said Molleker at the press conference after the match. In the second set both players were able to break their opponent once and so the set had to be decided in the tie-break, where the veteran Struff kept the upper hand. After a break and a re-break in the third it was Mollecker who finally got the last break of the set and accordingly the match: 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-3. “I will never forget that”, said Mollecker, “Struffi is the best player I have beaten so far and it’s also my first ever win at an ATP Tour main draw.”
Things went according to plan in the second match on the Centre Court, where Florian Mayer (ATP 85) beat yet another German in Yannick Maden (ATP 135) in straight sets 6-4, 6-1.