French qualifier Gregoire Barrere survived an ace deluge from two-time champion John Isner and a move indoors due to Cyclone Hale to move into the second round of the ASB Classic in Auckland Wednesday. The World No. 88 survived 28 aces from sixth-seeded Isner to advance 6-7(3), 7-6(5), 6-3.
Avenging a four-set loss to Isner in the second round of Roland Garros last year, Barrere cracked a clean cross-court service return winner off an aggressive Isner second serve in the eighth game of the third set to claim the only break of serve in the match.
Barrere notched just his fourth win in 23 outings against Top 50 opposition. He has never beaten a Top 50 player outdoors, but didn’t need to today after matches were moved indoors due to torrential rain. Barrere was solid on his own serve, winning 84 per cent of first serves and 69 per cent of second serves. He did not face a break point.
The 28-year-old will next face countryman Constant Lestienne.
Isner, who already holds the record for most aces since records began in 1991, is now just 12 aces away from becoming the first man to reach 14,000 aces at ATP Tour and Grand Slam events.
In other early Wednesday action, Marcos Giron rallied from a set down to defeat Argentine Federico Coria 6-7(5), 6-4, 7-5 to set a second-round meeting with fellow American J.J. Wolf.
Wild card Ben Shelton earned the first international win of his career when he defeated Next Gen ATP Finals alumnus Sebastian Baez 7-6(1), 6-2 after one hour and 23 minutes. The lefty hit nine aces and saved both break points he faced to advance.
“I thought I did a really good job of staying composed throughout the first set tonight and really hitting my stride in the second set,” Shelton said. “I had a difficult week last week in Adelaide and this being my first time out of the United States, I was glad for my ability to adapt after this first week, getting my bearings. I felt like I did a pretty good job for a first-round match tonight.”
Another American advanced when qualifier Christopher Eubanks eliminated French wild card Ugo Humbert 7-6(4), 7-6(3). Other first-round winners included Frenchman Quentin Halys and Czech Jiri Lehecka.