Chardy runs away with the opening set
It was the Chardy who got off to a fast start by bringing up a break point immediately after an unforced error from Albot. The Moldovian threw in an early double-fault as he fell behind early on. Chardy consolidated in the very next game to lead 2-0. The set got even better for the homegrown Frenchman.
An aggressive return on Albot's second serve did the job as he brought up a further break point opportunity. The 27-year-old denied Chardy by attacking and finishing off the point with a backhand winner. The 30-year-old would have two more break points saved but would bring up a fourth with continuous forehands which ultimately led to an unforced error.
A second consecutive unforced error allowed Chardy to break before consolidating to 15 to take a commanding 4-0 lead. The world number 88 would eventually get a game on the board but would struggle, being taken to deuce. Chardy for the first time in the set would be troubled on serve but would serve it out to go just the game from taking the opener.
The Moldovian held serve for just the second time with Chardy now serving for a set lead. From 15-all, Albot began hitting unforced errors which led to double set points heading Chardy's way. Albot then brought the game to deuce denying the Frenchman two chances at the set. But the world number 74 gained a third with the ace sealing the set, 6-2.
Lone break enough for Chardy
After the first set, Albot began becoming more relaxed, holding his opening service from 15-30 down. The world number 88 then pressurized Chardy by taking him to deuce twice before he held his serve to draw level at 1-1. For most of the set, both the players looked relatively equal for the first time but the Frenchman at times was forced to run around and use his powerful forehand to help him win the points and hold serve.
All square at 3-3, Chardy came from love-30 behind to draw level with once again, his forehand coming to his rescue. On the fifth point in the game, Albot hit straight into the net with the Frenchman grabbing his first break point chance of the entire set. Another forehand into the net saw Chardy get the breakthrough in the set with the crowd noises rising in support.
A hold of serve to love did the job with Chardy pressing home his advantage, going within a game of a two-set lead. Serving to stay in the match, Albot fell behind a set point with a poorly executed dropshot which allowed the Frenchman to easily place a return into the court, 30-40.
He failed to take advantage as the Moldovian played a shot which landed perfectly on the line as the return hit the net, deuce. Chardy would miss a second chance at taking the set with Albot once more playing smartly to deny his opponent, going on to hold for 5-4. At the third time of asking on his own serve, Chardy eventually put the set to bed.
Albot sends set to tiebreak; falls in three
At the start, Chardy would try and force the issue, taking Albot to deuce but getting no answers as he held to begin the third set. For Chardy, he held his serve more comfortably to 30 with both on getting on the scoreboard, 1-1. Just like the second set, both players had settled down during the set and were looking relatively good on their service games but Chardy was spraying the forehand winners from all over the court whilst struggling to keep the unforced error count to a minimum.
With no breakthrough as of yet, Albot finally gained his first break points of the entire match in the sixth game, two of them by firing a short forehand return winner and again causing Chardy to play an unforced error. The Frenchman was forced to dig in and got lucky with Albot sending a forehand wide of the line on his first break point.
On his second, a powerful serve done the job for Chardy who sent the game to deuce before holding. The two players then continued to hold serve with Chardy still struggling with unforced errors but as he served it up at 6-6. The 30-year-old began the breaker in great form, breaking Albot in the first point and holding serve twice on his own to go 3-0 up.
The 27-year-old won his first point in the fourth point but would get broken again in the fifth, 4-1. Albot then broke Chardy straight back twice to go within a point. However, he couldn't take advantage as the Frenchman broke twice again to gain three match points. An unreturnable serve would do the job to progress into the second round.