Tennis: ASB Classic fan-favourite Gael Monfils falls in epic first round encounter with Hungary's Fabian Marozsan

The ASB Classic has lost a fan-favourite in the first round, as Gael Monfils fell to a 6-4, 6-7, 7-6 defeat to Hungary's Fabian Marozsan on Monday.  

In a clash that ticked over two and a half hours, Monfils and Marozsan played out a first-round classic, with two of the three sets needing tiebreak to determine a winner.  

Monfils, 37, saved match point on three occasions, but was only delaying the inevitable, as patience paid off for his 24-year-old opponent.  

In his first ASB Classic appearance in over a decade, the former world No.6 hit a staggering 32 aces across the three sets, compared to Marozsan's 10.  

Monfils had the chance to serve for the match at 5-3 up in the deciding set, but Marozsan showed his quality to stay in the contest and earn himself more than one chance to take his victory.  

But as the evening wore on, the 24-year-old's fitness and durability became more and more apparent, as Monfils showed clear signs of fatigue in the third set before Marozsan had the final say. 

The Hungarian advances to the second round, where he'll have an unenviable task against tournament top seed, American Ben Shelton.  

Meanwhile, Kiwi Marcus Daniell was eliminated in the first round of the men's doubles, as he and partner Ben Mclachlan – Kiwi born but playing under the Japanese flag – were beaten by the the top seeds in the doubles draw of Marcel Granollers (Spain) and Horacio Zeballos (Argentina).  

After dropping the first set 3-6, Daniell and Mclachlan came back to take the second in emphatic fashion, 6-2, and set up a match tiebreaker in the third.  

But that was as good as it got for the Kiwi duo, as Granollers and Zeballos ran out 10-7 winners, sealing their first-round win in three sets.  

Fellow Kiwis Artem Sitak and Rubin Statham will take the court in their first-round doubles match on Tuesday, when they face Sam Weissborn and Romain Arneodo.  

Grand Slam doubles winner Michael Venus and Great Britain's Jamie Murray will take the court on Wednesday as the tournament's third seeds, when they face the Belgian pair of Sander Gille and Joran Vliegen.