Montpellier winner Pouille suffers early Rotterdam exit

Lucas Pouille makes a premature exit days after winning his fifth career ATP title
AFP

Rotterdam (Netherlands) (AFP) – Last week’s Montpellier champion Lucas Pouille exited in his opening match at the Rotterdam Open on Wednesday, losing 7-5, 6-4 to Andrey Rublev.

The Russian was joined in the second round at the Ahoy Arena by Pierre-Hugues Herbert of France, who advanced after just 15 minutes when compatriot Richard Gasquet, the Montpellier finalist, retired with a groin injury trailing 3-1.

Top seed Roger Federer is expected on court later on Wednesday as he launches his bid for a return to the world’s number one ranking against Belgian Ruben Bemelmans in a first-time meeting.

The 36-year-old Federer could become the oldest man by three years to hold the number one spot if he reaches the semi-finals at an event he has won twice.

Pouille lost in 93 minutes, hitting a dozen aces in defeat but losing serve four times.

The 34th-ranked Rublev owns his only career title from Umag last summer on clay. Herbert will play Russian Daniil Medvedev in the second round.

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