No. 5 seed Gael Monfils will play his first match since the Australian Open quarterfinals when he takes on Edouard Roger-Vasselin in Montpellier, France. The match is live at 4pm local time (3pm BST.)
A brilliant start to the season saw Frenchman Gael Monfils win four rounds at the first Slam of the year. His Melbourne campaign ended a hair's breadth from the semifinals, as a 6-3 3-6 6-3 6-4 loss to in-form Milos Raonic called him to a halt.
It was, perhaps, a winnable match, but the entertaining Frenchman can be pleased with his first tournament of the season. Now back in the top 20 at no. 17, he will be hoping to bring his good form home to France. Seeded no. 5 in Montpellier, the 29-year-old opens against Edouard Roger-Vasslin on Wednesday. And with semifinal points to defend after falling to Richard Gasquet in the 2015 final four, he cannot afford to succumb early.
Monfils may not have all the crowd on his side for the clash, however. World no. 136 Edouard Roger-Vasselin is also French, and still resides in the country of his birth. Although not quite the calibre of his forthcoming opponent, the 32-year-old has been ranked as high as world no. 35, and is ranked among the world's top 20 doubles players. Montpellier will be his first ATP tournament of the year, and athletic Gael Monfils – straight off a good run on one of the most pressurised stages in tennis – is no easy opening task.
Nevertheless, this could yet be a close match. Monfils, besides his exhilarating tennis, is noted for his utter unpredictability, while Roger-Vasselin is not a stranger to the upset. He has defeated the likes of Juan Martin Del Potro and Stan Wawrinka, and made multiple ATP finals. A doubles trophy in the men's doubles event of 2014 Roland Garros proves that he can perform in the big moments.
These two will not be the only Frenchmen in action on a packed Wednesday in Montpellier. Top seed Richard Gasquet will kick off the second round against former world no. 10 Ernests Gulbis, after the current world no. 82 saw off Quentin Halys in two sets for his first win of the season. With current world no.10 Gasquet the strong favourite for victory, possessing a 2-1 head-to-head record against his next opponent, multiple home players could well be victorious in Montpellier.
Gael Monfils leads his head-to-head with Edouard Roger-Vasselin 3-0, with the two set to face off in Montpellier at 4pm local time (3pm BST.)