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Tomic Makes Strong Start In Nice; Ferrero Saves Match Point

Nice, France

Tomic© Yohan Brandt/Open de Nice Côte d’AzurBernard Tomic enjoyed a winning debut in Nice.

Fifth seed Bernard Tomic began his Open de Nice Côte d’Azur campaign on Tuesday with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Slovakian Lukas Lacko. The Australian converted four of his six break point chances to claim victory in 65 minutes.

The 19-year-old Tomic is at a career-high World No. 28 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings this week, having compiled an 18-11 match record on the season. The right-hander was a quarter-finalist on clay in Munich last month (l. to Lopez) and was beaten by Novak Djokovic in the Rome second round last week.

Tomic goes onto face Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin, who defeated American qualifier Sam Querrey 6-2, 7-5 in 80 minutes.

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Former World No. 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero prevailed in a gripping first-round contest. The Spaniard saved one match point in the second set tie-break as he fought from a set down to edge sixth-seeded Dutchman Robin Haase 4-6, 7-6(6), 7-6(6) in two hours and 32 minutes. The 32-year-old Ferrero, who lifted the Roland Garros trophy in 2003, is coming off a third-round showing in Rome (l. to Federer) and improved to a 4-7 match record on the season.

Seventh seed Denis Istomin finished strongly to defeat Colombian Alejandro Falla 7-6(3), 1-6, 6-1 in two hours and 24 minutes. The Uzbekistani had fallen in the opening round of six of his past seven tournaments. He next will face Russia’s Nikolay Davydenko, who defeated Australian Matthew Ebden 6-3, 6-3.

Bulgarian qualifier Grigor Dimitrov set a second-round clash with No. 2 seed Gilles Simon after overcoming Israel’s Dudi Sela 7-5, 6-1. Meanwhile, Belgium’s Xavier Malisse will challenge top seed John Isner after finishing up a 7-5, 6-4 win over Yen-Hsun Lu. The match had begun on Sunday, but was postponed by persistent rain. No main draw matches were completed on Sunday and all play was abandoned on Monday.

American qualifier Brian Baker posted a landmark win at the age of 27. Playing in his career-first ATP World Tour clay-court tournament, the right-hander closed a gap of 132 places in the South African Airways ATP Rankings to defeat Ukrainian Sergiy Stakhovsky 6-7(2), 6-4, 7-5. After undergoing five surgeries in the past six years, the Nashville, Tennessee native is playing his first ATP World Tour tournament since the 2005 US Open. He goes onto face fourth seed Gael Monfils.

Fabio Fognini was the first seeded victim at the ATP World Tour 250 clay-court tournament. The Italian No. 8 seed was beaten 7-6(3), 7-5 by Belgium’s Steve Darcis. In the other Italian-Belgian clash of the day, Filippo Volandri battled past Olivier Rochus 4-6, 7-6(2), 6-2.

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Open de Nice Cote dAzur, Nice

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