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Istomin Sets Up Verdasco Clash

Sydney, Australia

Istomin© Getty ImagesDenis Istomin saved nine of ten break points against James Duckworth in Sydney

World No. 46 Denis Istomin will meet fourth seed Fernando Verdasco in the second round of the Apia International Sydney, after defeating Australian wildcard James Duckworth 6-7(4), 6-4, 7-6(3) on Monday.

Istomin, who saved nine of 10 break points, made 71 per cent of his first serves. Last year, he reached the final four before falling to eventual champion Jarkko Nieminen.

Verdasco, who received a first-round bye, holds a 3-1 FedEX ATP Head2Head lead over Istomin, though the 26 year old gave Uzbekistan reason to cheer when he won their most recent encounter 6-4, 7-6(9) at the London Olympics.

In other action, fifth seed Florian Mayer defeated qualifier Joao Sousa 6-1, 6-2 in 50 minutes. The German served four aces and won 86 percent of first serve points.

In the next round, Mayer will face off against the winner of an all-Australian encounter on Tuesday evening between Bernard Tomic and Marinko Matosevic.

Their Davis Cup teammate Matthew Ebden was unable to maintain his unbeaten record against World No. 34 Marcel Granollers, who won 7-5, 5-7, 6-1. Granollers, the eighth seed, plays either Grigor Dimitrov or Fabio Fognini in the second round.

Video courtesy Tennis Australia. Visit the official tournament website

Last year's runner-up Julien Benneteau posted his first victory over Pablo Andujar 6-3, 5-7, 6-2, though the Spaniard saved ten of eighteen break points, including four match points at 4-5 in the second set.

Benneteau is pitted against either sixth seed Radek Stepanek or qualifier Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in the next round.

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