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Mathieu Returns With Win, Joins Lopez In Second Round

Montpellier, France

Mathieu© Open Sud de FrancePaul-Henri Mathieu was playing his first tour-level match for 15 months.

Fifth seed Feliciano Lopez topped Igor Kunitsyn 6-4, 7-6(7) at the Open Sud de France in Montpellier on Tuesday.

Lopez relied on his first serve, firing 19 aces while winning 42 of 46 points when he hit his first serve in play. He saved a set point in the second set tie-break before closing out the Russian in one hour and 37 minutes.

The Spaniard, coming off a fourth-round showing at the Australian Open (l. to Nadal), which propelled him to a career best No. 15 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings this week, will play Guillaume Rufin next.

Seventh-seeded German Philipp Kohlschreiber avenged last month's Auckland loss to Olivier Rochus of Belgium with a 6-1, 6-4 win in 86 minutes.

Kohlschreiber hit 11 aces and saved three of four break points against the 31-year-old Rochus, who lost to David Ferrer in the Auckland final.

No. 8 seed Jarkko Nieminen, who captured his second ATP World Tour title at the Apia International Sydney last month (d. Benneteau), edged past French qualifier Maxime Teixeira 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 in two hours and six minutes.

French wild card Paul-Henri Mathieu, playing his first ATP World Tour tournament since November 2010 at the Swiss Indoors Basel, defeated Cedrik-Marcel Stebe of Germany 6-4, 6-4 in 85 minutes. The 30-year-old Mathieu missed all of last season with a knee injury.

Nicolas Mahut and Edouard Roger-Vasselin joined their countryman Mathieu in the second round. Mahut dismissed Albert Ramos 6-3, 6-2, while Roger-Vasselin was a 7-5, 6-2 winner over qualifier Roberto Bautista-Agut.

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