ATP Montpellier: Feliciano Lopez saves a match point en route to a three-set victory over Julien Benneteau
Feliciano Lopez celebrates defeating Julien Benneteau (Photo: opensuddefrance)

ATP Montpellier: Feliciano Lopez saves a match point en route to a three-set victory over Julien Benneteau

Feliciano Lopez saved a set point en route to defeating Julien Benneteau and advancing to the second round.

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At the Open Sud de France in the opening round, Feliciano Lopez saved a match point en route to defeating Julien Benneteau 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(0) to progress to round two. Lopez will now play Benoit Paire

Lopez grabs the sets only break 

Both players began the match by holding their serve. In just the third game of the match, Lopez brought up a break point at 30-40 with a passing shot. The Frenchman saved the break point with a great serve and volleying skills to bring the game to deuce. Lopez came back at the Frenchman to earn a second break point. Good serving brought the game t deuce once more.

Feliciano Lopez hits a slice (Photo: Pat Scala/Getty Images)
Feliciano Lopez hits a slice (Photo: Pat Scala/Getty Images)

However, a backhand error allowed the Spaniard to bring up a third break point. This time, he took his chances and broke before consolidating for a comfortable 4-1 lead. Just two games later, Beneteau brought up a break back point at 30-40 when the 35-year-old sent a forehand wide. The Spaniard then forced the error to bring the game to deuce before going on to hold serve for 5-2. The Frenchman held serve but it was Lopez who would clinch the first set with some good serving, 6-3. 

Benneteau fights back to send the match to a decider

At the start of the second, the 32nd ranked player in the world brought up an early break point at advantage when Benneteau sent a backhand long. Good serving sent the game to deuce as the Frenchman denied Lopez and then went on to hold serve. The Spaniard was taken to deuce in his service game but came through unscathed with the set at 1-1. Both players began to grow into the match but the fifth game saw more break points go the way of the Spaniard, two of them with Benneteau being forced to play the extra shot.

Julien Benneteau gearing up to hit a shot (Photo: Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Julien Benneteau gearing up to hit a shot (Photo: Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

An ace followed by an error brought the game to deuce with Lopez being denied as the Frenchman held serve to stay in the match at 3-2. The nine-time ATP runners-up grew into the match and began to cause the Spaniard problems and held serve in the ninth game to edge out infront at 4-5. Now serving to stay in the set, the 35-year-old Frenchman made Lopez run around the court, chasing the ball before finishing the point with an overhead smash to bring up a break/set point. Lopez then netted a backhand as Beneteau drew level and sent the match to a decider, 4-6. 

Lopez saves a match, wins the match via a tiebreaker

At the start of the third, Lopez sent the game to deuce before gaining a break point forcing the error from his opponent. A volley into the net from Beneteau gave the Spaniard the break. He went on to consolidate in the next game for 2-0. However, the Frenchman battled straight back. He held serve in the third game then earned two break points in the very next game at 15-40 when Lopez sent a forehand long. A forehand winner denied Benneteau but Lopez sent what seemed to look like a relatively easy overhead into the net as the set drew level at 2-2. Benneteau consolidated the break and edged out infront for the first time in the set at 3-2.

Feliciano Lopez strikes a forehand shot (Photo: Pat Scala/Getty Images)
Feliciano Lopez strikes a forehand shot (Photo: Pat Scala/Getty Images)

Just two games later, the Spaniard gained a break point at 30-40. The Frenchman served an ace to deny the Spaniard, however, his serve let him down in the next point as Lopez grabbed a second break point. Once more, the break point was saved as Benneteau stayed in the match at 4-3. Now serving to stay in the match, Benneteau hit a great return to which Lopez sent a forehand long and a break/match point arrived. The Spaniard denied the Frenchman and held serve for 5-5. The match was then sent to a tiebreaker, which was won by Lopez 7-0 as he progressed to the second round. 

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