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Monaco Ousts Seeded Gonzalez; Canas Dismisses Dimitrov Challenge

Bastad, Sweden

Bjorn Phau© Arne Forsell/BildbyrånPhau snapped a six-match losing streak.

World No. 61 Juan Monaco swiftly put behind him the disappointment of losing two Davis Cup rubbers at the weekend by booking his place in the second round of the Catella Swedish Open. The Argentine ousted his eighth-seeded countryman Maximo Gonzalez 7-6(4), 3-6, 6-1 on Tuesday at the ATP World Tour 250 clay-court tennis tournament in Bastad.

The 25-year-old Monaco twice trailed by a break of serve in the first set before clinching it on a tie-break and, after dropping the second set, broke serve three times in the deciding set to seal victory after two hours and 18 minutes. The Tandil native is making his fourth appearance in Bastad and reached the quarter-finals on his debut in 2004 (l. to F. Gonzalez).

Argentine qualifier Guillermo Canas dismissed the challenge of Bulgarian wild card Grigor Dimitrov 6-3, 7-6(2) to set up a second-round meeting with Swede Andreas Vinciguerra. Former World No. 8 Canas, currently at No. 151 in the South African Airways 2009 ATP Rankings, is making his fourth appearance in Bastad and was a quarter-finalist in 2002 (l. to Calleri).

Canas won the opening set with two breaks of serve in the third and ninth games. Dimitrov briefly held a break-of-serve advantage in the second set before Canas won the next four games to lead 5-2. However, the close of the match was not straightforward for Canas as the 18-year-old Dimitrov saved three match points in the eighth game before hitting back to level at 5-5. The more experienced Canas prevailed in the tie-break though to win his fifth tour-level match of the season.

Italian qualifier Potito Starace celebrated his 28th birthday in style with a 7-6(5), 6-3 victory over Frenchman Julien Benneteau Tuesday. World No. 65 Starace has enjoyed strong results on the ATP Challenger Tour in recent weeks and is coming off a title win in Turin. A week earlier he had lost to No. 23 Radek Stepanek in five sets in the second round at Wimbledon.

The right-hander reached the quarter-finals on his Bastad debut last year, defeating No. 25 Carlos Moya and No. 40 Marat Safin before falling to 23 Tomas Berdych. He goes on to face either No. 5 seed Nicolas Almagro or Marat Safin.

Roland Garros junior champion Daniel Berta failed in his bid to win his first ATP World Tour match as German Bjorn Phau defeated the Swedish wild card 6-3, 6-2. The 16-year-old Berta made his ATP World Tour main draw debut last month at ‘s-Hertogenbosch and lost to 38-year-old Dick Norman.

Victory for No. 69-ranked Phau snapped a six-match losing streak dating back to April, when he reached the semi-finals in Houston (l. to Odesnik). He improved to a 7-11 mark and will meet Russian Teimuraz Gabashvili for a place in his third quarter-final of the season.

Elsewhere, Austrian Daniel Koellerer set up a second-round clash with top seed Fernando Verdasco after rallying from a one-set deficit to defeat Belgian Steve Darcis 1-6, 6-3, 6-4. It was the World No. 81’s first win on the ATP World Tour since reaching the quarter-finals at Kitzbuhel (l. to Benneteau) in May.

World No. 55 Kristof Vliegen progressed to a second-round match with No. 2 seed and Roland Garros runner-up Robin Soderling after knocking out Spaniard Marcel Granollers 7-6(3), 6-4, while third-seeded Spaniard Tommy Robredo will take on Peter Luczak in the second round after the Australian qualifier recorded his first ATP World Tour-level win of the season with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Spaniard Alberto Martin

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