Things got off to a riproaring start Monday in Meknes (or, if you’re Denis Gremelmayr, a R.I.P. roaring start, perhaps) as the top-seeded Gremel was deep-sixed by Guillermo Olaso in the very first main draw match of the tournament. (Actually, he was deep-seven-sixed and then deep-six-twoed, if you wanna get technical about it.) Olaso only served 47% first serves all match, too, if the stats are to be believed, plus he was broken in the first game of the match, and missed two chances to break right back.
He waited until Gremelmayr was serving for the first set at 5-4 to get the breakback, but get this: Gremel then broke a second time to secure another chance to serve it out. But you know how that went: no go. Olaso saved a set point, then broke for the breaker and came back from 2-4* down to win the last five points of the TB, winning the match 7-6(4) 6-2. This win alone might not be enough to take the 22-year-old to the next WATCH List, but another one certainly will. I’m really annoyed I didn’t wake up early enough to see this match, by the way, because the ATP lists his playing style as “Ambidextrous” and that’s something I’d like to verify with my own eye, TYVM.
So in my preview, I said that second seed Simon Greul would have a “less tricky” first rounder against Matteo Viola than Gremelmayr would have against Olaso; and my prescience was more than borne out, as Greul cruised to a 4-6 7-6(5) 7-5 victory. (What? It’s certainly “less tricky” than losing, no? It’s all relative.) The 29-year-old German only had to save a break point at a set down and 4-all, another one at 5-all, and then break in the crucial thirty-fourth game of the match and serve it out. Easy peasy.
But do you want to hear something shocking about this whole sordid affair? Here’s something: despite there having been 10 breaks of serve and 31 break points total, neither player was broken from 3-all in the second set until the penultimate game. Put another way: there were nine breaks in the first fourteen service games. Yikes.
I also wrote, in my preview, that the match between Nikola Ciric and seventh seed Augustin Gensse would be “a tough one to call”. Then I proceeded to call it anyways, in favor of Gensse. Of course, that sealed it right then and there, and Ciric went on to win 7-5 7-6(6), winning the last four points of the breaker from double set point down.
Other than that, there were no upsets on the day (although losing the first, second and seventh seeds out of only eight matches played on the first day should really be enough for most of you, honestly). Heilbronn champ and sixth seed Bastian Knittel initially had a tough time with Attila Balazs before drumming him out of the tournament 4-6 6-1 6-1. And I’m sad to report, for reasons that should be obvious to anyone who knows how infantile I can be, that wildcard Anas Fattar laid an egg against fifth seed Alessio Di Mauro, getting blown out of the singles 6-1 6-3. But he’s still alive in doubles (possibly because he hasn’t played his match yet – he’s up against the top seeds, don’tcha know. Poor Anas.)