ATP Marseille: Qualifier Norbert Gombos defeats Nicolas Mahut on a third set tiebreaker

ATP Marseille: Qualifier Norbert Gombos defeats Nicolas Mahut on a third set tiebreaker

Slovak Norbert Gombos is through to the quarterfinals after defeating Nicolas Mahut in three sets.

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In the second round at the Open 13, qualifier Norbert Gombos defeated Nicolas Mahut 7-5, 3-6, 7-6(5) to progress to the quarterfinals. 

Gombos grabs late break, wins opening set

Mahut began the match by holding serve to love. The second game saw two break points go Mahut's way at 15-40. An ace followed by a serve out wide brought the game to deuce. The Frenchman would have one more break point but Gombos denied him and came through a tough test for 1-1. Mahut held his second game and applied more pressure on the Slovakian. At 30-all, Gobos played a shanked forehand which led to a break point going against him. He then double-faulted and handed the first break to Mahut at 1-3.

Norbert Gombos strikes a forehand (Photo: Bertrand Langlois/Getty Images)
Norbert Gombos strikes a forehand (Photo: Bertrand Langlois/Getty Images)

However, he failed to capitalise and Gombos struck back immediately with a forehand winner. This was followed by a hold of serve from love-30 down as Gombos drew level at 3-3. The next three games saw holds of serve with the score now at 5-4. Serving to stay in the set, the Slovakian hit an unforced error and a set point went the Frenchman's way. An ace down the t saw the game go to deuce before going on to hold for 5-5. Gombos broke in the next game and then sealed the set 7-5 to love.

Mahut fights back, forces a decider

The start of the second set saw both players hold their serve pretty easily. The next 5 games were also held of serve with the set at 4-3 with Mahut in front. In the eighth game, the Frenchman gained a break point at 30-40. 

Nicolas Mahut strikes a forehand return (photo: Bertrand Langlois/Getty Images)
Nicolas Mahut strikes a forehand return (photo: Bertrand Langlois/Getty Images)


A backhand error allowed Mahut to grab the break and go 3-5 ahead in the set. Serving for the second set, Mahut raced away to a love-40 lead. Gombos then saved two set points but couldn't bring the game to deuce as the Frenchman struck a backhand which forced the error and a third set, 3-6. 

Gombos shocks Mahut, advances to the quarterfinal as a qualifier

Mahut brought up double break points 15-40 at the start of the set. An ace followed by a unforced error saw the game go to deuce. Gombos won the next two points and avoided going down early, holding for 1-0. The Slovak then gained his first break point of the set after making Mahut chase down a number of shots before drilling a forehand winner.

A forehand planted on the baseline forced Mahut to hit the unforced error as Gombos broke for 3-1 before holding to love for 4-1. In the next game, Mahut was forced to save more break points, two of them as he held for 4-2. Now serving for the match at 5-3, Gombos slammed down an ace and earned a set point at 30-40.

Norbert Gombos reaches for a shot (Photo: Bertrand Langlois/Getty Images)
Norbert Gombos reaches for a shot (Photo: Bertrand Langlois/Getty Images)

However, he got tight and failed to close the match with Mahut then going on to bring up a break point. The Slovak would begin the game to deuce but with the crowd on his side, Mahut gained a second break point in the game and took his chances and broke back for 5-4. He consolidated to draw level at 5-5. Mahut then applied pressure and the next game saw him squander three break points as Gombos eventually held for 6-5. Mahut also held serve, much more easily and forced a tiebreaker. The Slovak grabbed match point at 6-4 and despite having one saved, he hit a big serve down the line and finished the match once and for all.

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