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Berdych Defeats Seppi; Mathieu Holds Nerve

Paris, France

Mathieu© Getty ImagesPaul-Henri Mathieu overcame Roberto Bautista-Agut to earn a clash with Andy Murray.

Fifth seed Tomas Berdych won his opener at the BNP Paribas Masters in Paris, defeating Andreas Seppi 7-6(6), 6-2 in the second round on Tuesday.

The 2005 champion broke Seppi three times to advance in one hour and 40 minutes. The sixth-ranked Berdych improved to a 5-2 record in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series and has won all three of their meetings this season.

The Czech is bidding to win his third indoor hard-court title of the year, following triumphs in Montpellier (d. Monfils) and Stockholm (d. Tsonga). He will be one of eight players competing at the season-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London, having qualified for the third straight season.

French wild card Paul-Henri Mathieu held his nerve in a gripping finale to his first-round match, eventually beating Spanish qualifier Roberto Bautista-Agut 6-4, 7-5.

Mathieu served for the match at 5-4 in the second set and in a 27-minute, 19-second game, he squandered six match points before Bautista-Agut converted his 12th break point to draw level. The 30-year-old Mathieu regrouped quickly, though, and reeled off the next two games, including a love service game, to close out victory in two hours and 18 minutes.

Former World No. 12 Mathieu, who has made a successful comeback to the ATP World Tour this season after missing more than a year with a knee injury, goes onto face third seed Andy Murray.

Mathieu was joined in the second round by countrymen Jeremy Chardy and Michael Llodra, who both defeated Spanish opposition. Chardy dismissed qualifier Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-0, 6-3 in 72 minutes, while wild card Michael Llodra overcame lucky loser Daniel Gimeno-Traver 7-5, 6-3. Gimeno-Traver was a late replacement in the draw for Radek Stepanek, who withdrew due to a left knee injury.

Polish qualifier Jerzy Janowicz backed up his first-round win over Philipp Kohlschreiber by ousting 13th-seeded Croatian Marin Cilic 7-6(6), 6-2. The 6’8’’ 21-year-old dropped just 10 points on serve and hit nine aces to prevail in 86 minutes.

Two more qualifiers enjoyed success. Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov defeated Jurgen Melzer of Austria 7-6(6), 6-2. The 21-year-old Dimitrov, who is coming off a quarter-final showing in Basel (l. to Mathieu), hit 16 aces as he earned a second-round clash with ninth seed Juan Monaco. Igor Sijsling of The Netherlands upset last week’s Valencia Open 500 runner-up Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-4, 6-2 in 60 minutes.

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