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Resurgent Mathieu Sweeps Aside Young

Monte-Carlo, Monaco

Mathieu© Getty ImagesPaul-Henri Mathieu won his first match for six years at the Monte-Carlo Country Club.

Former World No. 12 Paul-Henri Mathieu made big strides in his comeback from the knee injury that sidelined him last year by defeating Donald Young 6-0, 6-1 on Monday in the first round of the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters.

The French wild card, who has seen his South African Airways ATP Ranking plummet to No. 352, won the first eight games of the match and sealed victory in 67 minutes. It was his first win at the Monte-Carlo Country Club since 2006, when he defeated Marat Safin to reach the second round.The 30-year-old Mathieu goes onto face either No. 12 seed Kei Nishikori or Albert Ramos.

"Being on centre court today was something difficult to imagine because last year I was dreaming about it, and now I was there," said Mathieu. "I'm very happy that I won this match. But it's tougher on clay. There are more rallies. I had a good first round and I took advantage of it."

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Jurgen Melzer, the No. 15 seed and a semi-finalist last year, opened his campaign with a 6-2, 7-5 victory over Poland’s Lukasz Kubot. The Austrian, who topped Roger Federer in the quarter-finals last year, broke serve five times from 11 opportunities to claim victory in one hour and 37 minutes. He goes onto face France’s Julien Benneteau, who needed three sets to defeat Spaniard Marcel Granollers 6-3, 3-6, 6-3. 

Australia’s Bernard Tomic won a main draw match at the Monte-Carlo Country Club for the first time in three visits when he defeated Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan 6-4, 6-3 in 62 minutes. The World No. 36, who was a semi-finalist in Brisbane at the start of the year, improved to a 13-6 match record as he broke serve three times and only lost nine points on his own delivery. For a place in the third round he will face No. 15 seed Alexandr Dolgopolov.

"Today I felt good," said Tomic. "I'm starting to learn how to play on clay. That's the important thing. If I play my tennis, [other players] struggle with my game even on clay. I think this next six weeks will be very interesting to see how I go. And I think can do pretty good."

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©Arnaud Briand

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