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Stepanek, Nieminen Win In Sydney; Millman Upsets Robredo

Sydney, Australia

Millman© Getty ImagesJohn Millman gave Australian fans reason to cheer

Sixth seed Radek Stepanek is through to the second round of the Apia International Sydney, after defeating Spanish qualifier Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-2, 6-3 on Tuesday.

The Czech 34-year-old won 79 per cent of his first serve points to lift his FedEX ATP Head2Head over Garcia-Lopez to 2-1.

Stepanek faces Julien Benneteau in the second round. The duo have split the honours from their four prior meetings, with the Frenchman winning their most recent match at the 2010 US Open 6-4, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4.

German qualifier Bjorn Phau met a similar fate, falling to defending champion Jarkko Nieminen 6-0, 6-1 in 42 minutes.

The Finn didn't face a break point en route to booking a second-round clash against second seed Gilles Simon. The two have split their four previous encounters.

Australian No. 191 John Millman made the most of his wild card, taking out Spain's Tommy Robredo 6-3, 6-4 as temperatures raced up to 42 degrees Celsius.

Millman described conditions as tough, but credited his Australian heritage as an advantage.

"We've played in them every day since we were six years old or whatever," said the 23-year-old, who is aiming to reduce his ranking to at least 146, which will equal brother-in-law Robert Smeets' career-best.

"I think he's a bit more nervous than me at the moment. I want to knock off him and then get inside that Top 100," said Millman.

The right-hander converted half of his six break point chances to book a battle with Italian third seed Andreas Seppi.

"He'll definitely make me work out there.  It's going to be a really stern challenge for me, but one that I'm going to look forward to," Millman said.

Spain's Feliciano Lopez dealt seventh seed Jeremy Chardy an early exit, needing over two hours to notch a 6-7(2), 7-5, 6-3 win. Lopez served 22 aces to Chardy's six.

American qualifier Ryan Harrison set up a second round battle with Davis Cup teammate and top seed John Isner after Robert Bautista Agut retired trailing 1-2 with lower abdominal pain. 

 

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