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Former Champion Berdych Advances; Isner Saves 3 M.P.

Paris (Bercy), France

Ivo Karlovic© Getty ImagesCroatian Ivo Karlovic has hit 876 aces at ATP World Tour-level tournaments this year.

Former champion Tomas Berdych booked a place in the second round of the BNP Paribas Masters Monday after defeating French qualifier Vincent Millot 6-3, 7-6(4) in 86 minutes at the final ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament of the season, held in Paris (Bercy).

Berdych, who captured the 2005 Paris title over Ivan Ljubicic on his tournament debut, hit 10 aces past his 23-year-old opponent and converted three of four break point opportunities.  He improved to 16-8 in tie-breaks this year.

The 24-year-old Berdych, who will lead Czech Republic against Spain in the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas final next month, improved to a 36-24 match record on the season (22-16 on hard courts).  In May, he captured his fifth career ATP World Tour title at the BMW Open in Munich (d. Youzhny).

Italian Andreas Seppi avenged his US Open first-round loss to Philipp Kohlschreiber Monday with a 6-3, 6-3 win over the World No. 26 from Germany. Seppi, appearing in Paris for the fifth straight year, won 74 per cent of service points and hit seven aces for victory in 58 minutes.  Kohlschreiber, the Open de Moselle runner-up in September, dropped to a 40-25 match record on the season.

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Croatian Ivo Karlovic won 49 of 55 service points and hit 21 aces past Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay for a 7-6(3), 6-4 victory in 77 minutes.  The World No. 39 improved to 23-22 on the year, highlighted by one semi-final appearance at the Serbia Open 2009 in Belgrade (l. to Kubot).

Serbian Viktor Troicki set up a second-round clash with Barclays ATP World Tour Finals hopeful Radek Stepanek when Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu was forced to retire due to a right calf injury with Troicki leading 7-6(4), 3-0. World No. 29 Troicki is playing in Paris for the second time, after suffering a first-round exit (l. to Ljubicic) as a qualifier last year.

“I just felt it (my calf) in the beginning of the match, and when I ran at 5-5 it really hurt sharply,” explained Mathieu. “After that, I was not able to push with my leg on my right leg. As soon as I was doing that, it was hurting a lot.”

In a must-win second-round match for defending champion Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the Frenchman will face Albert Montanes after the Spaniard edged Victor Hanescu of Romania 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(3) in two hours and seven minutes. World No. 9 Tsonga must reach the final in Paris this week to have a chance of qualifying for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.

American John Isner saved three match points to earn his place in the second round with a battling 4-6, 7-6(10), 7-5 victory over Columbian qualifier Alejandro Falla. The World No. 35 trailed 5-6, 7-8 and 9-10 in the second-set tie-break, but held on to level the match and broke in the 11th game of the third set to seal victory in two hours and 18 minutes.

The 24 year old, a two-time semi-finalist on the ATP World Tour this season, next will face 10th seed Fernando Gonzalez, whom he defeated in the first round of the Davidoff Swiss Indoors Basel last week to dent the Chilean’s chances of qualifying for the season finale in London later this month.

Lukasz Kubot, a Polish qualifier who reached the Serbia Open 2009 final (l. to Djokovic), hit 14 aces past Andreas Beck of Germany in a 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 win in two hours and five minutes.  World No. 111 Kubot improved to 9-8 on the year.

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