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Hanescu Impresses On Nice Debut

Nice, France

© Yohan BrandtAndreas Seppi rallies from a set down to defeat Edouard Roger-Vasselin.

Romania’s Victor Hanescu opened his debut Open de Nice Côte d’Azur campaign in style on Monday as he crushed French qualifier Benoit Paire 6-0, 6-1 in just 54 minutes at the ATP World Tour 250 clay-court tennis tournament.

The scoreline might have been closer, had the No. 105-ranked Paire been able to convert his six break point chances. As it was, though, the 29-year-old Hanescu broke serve five times to win his first ATP World Tour-level match since reaching the second round at the Estoril Open three weeks ago.

World No. 69 Hanescu, a semi-finalist in Casablanca (l. to Starace) last month, next faces fourth-seeded American Andy Roddick in the second round.

Paire was not the only French qualifier to fall in the first round as Spanish qualifier Pere Riba dismissed World No. 255 Guillaume Rufin 6-2, 6-2 in 69 minutes. The 23-year-old Riba, this week a career-high No. 65 in the South African Airways 2011 ATP Rankings, goes on to meet fifth-seeded Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov.

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Riba was joined in the second round by countryman Pablo Andujar, who was leading 5-0 when Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov was forced to retire ill. World No. 50 Andujar won his first ATP World Tour title last month on clay in Casablanca (d. Starace).

Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin notched his first ATP World Tour-level win since March, snapping a four-match losing streak, as he defeated Belgium’s Olivier Rochus 6-2, 7-6(5) in one hour and 39 minutes. It marked the 24 year old’s first win at an ATP World Tour clay-court event since reaching the Hamburg quarter-finals (l. to Golubev) in July 2010.

Andreas Seppi dropped his opening set against Edouard Roger-Vasselin, but rallied to beat the French wild card 3-6, 6-3, 6-2. The win is Seppi's first on clay this season, and he advances to play top seed David Ferrer. The Spaniard has won all three of their head-to-head meetings.

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Open de Nice Cote dAzur, Nice

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