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Gonzalez Starts Comeback With A Win

Belgrade, Serbia

Feliciano Lopez© Stevanovic/MilosavljevicFeliciano Lopez defeated friend Juan Monaco 6-4, 7-5 Tuesday in Belgrade.

Fernando Gonzalez won his first match in 11 months Tuesday evening, defeating Martin Klizan 6-2, 6-4 in the first round of the Serbia Open. Gonzalez had been sidelined since last October after having right hip surgery, and last tasted victory in a first round win at the 2010 French Open. “I haven’t played for a long time but my shots are already in my game,” said the former World No. 5 after the match. “I’m moving better every day but I need to play more matches, more points and I need to compete. Maybe the conditions today weren’t really good for a great match but it was good for tough competition.”

Though he was pleased with the win, the outcome was not the Chilean’s primary focus in today’s match. “Obviously I’m really happy for that, but I was scared at what was going to happen, and I felt good [out there]. The conditions were tough and you have to move really quickly and that’s the thing needed most in the past. That’s why I lost a lot of my power, I couldn’t move very well before the surgery.”

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In a contest between two players in need of a win, Illya Marchenko beat wildcard and No. 6 seed Ernests Gulbis 6-2, 6-4. The Ukrainian capitalised on four of five break point opportunities to win his first match in over 12 weeks – his last match win came in the opening round of the ATP World Tour 250 event in Zagreb. With the loss, Gulbis drops to a 7-9 record on the season and hasn’t won back-to-back matches since reaching the semi-finals in Sydney.

Feliciano Lopez evened his FedEx Head 2 Head series with Juan Monaco to a 2-2 record after dispatching the eighth seeded Argentine 6-4, 7-5. “The wind is the worst thing for the players to adjust to. Playing with this wind is very difficult,” Lopez said after his win. “I’m so happy because my performance today was very good for the conditions that we played.”

The Spaniard is coming off his best showing of the year after reaching the quarter-finals in Barcelona last week. Monaco falls to 1-3 on clay in 2011.

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