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Muller Ousts Gasquet; Davydenko, Llodra Advance In Marseille

Marseille, France

Llodra© Yohan Brandt/Open 13Michael Llodra set a re-match of the 2012 final with Juan Martin del Potro.

World No. 70 Gilles Muller claimed his first tour-level win of the season in style on Tuesday, rallying from 2-5 down in the final set to oust fifth seed Richard Gasquet 2-6, 6-4, 7-6(5) in the first round of the Open 13 in Marseille.

The Luxembourg native fired 19 aces and saved nine of the 12 break points he faced to edge Gasquet in just under two hours. He had also beaten Gasquet in their most recent meeting two years ago at the Moselle Open in Metz.

World No. 10 Gasquet suffered an early defeat for the second week in a row, having fallen to Marcos Baghdatis in the Rotterdam second round. The Frenchman had made a strong start to the season, winning titles at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha (d. Davydenko) and the Open Sud de France (d. Paire). He dropped to a 15-3 match record in 2013.

There was more disappointment among French players as Gael Monfils was beaten 6-4, 6-4 by Marcel Granollers of Spain. The No. 35-ranked Granollers snapped a three-match losing run as he broke serve once in each set for victory in 71 minutes.

Former World No. 3 Nikolay Davydenko reached the second round in Marseille for just the third time in eight visits as he defeated Ukrainian qualifier Sergiy Stakhovsky 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 in one hour and 38 minutes.

The Russian broke serve five times as he beat the No. 100-ranked Stakhovsky for the third time in four meetings. The 31-year-old Davydenko, a runner-up at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha in the first week of the year, goes on to face third seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

France’s Michael Llodra set a re-match of last year’s final against second seed Juan Martin del Potro as he improved his impressive Marseille record to 17-6 after beating David Goffin of Belgium 6-2, 6-4 in 65 minutes. The 32 year old won the title at this ATP World Tour 250 indoor hard court tournament in 2010 (d. Benneteau) and finished runner-up in 2009 (l. to Tsonga) and last year.

Latvian Ernests Gulbis set a second-round clash with top seed Tomas Berdych after beating Jarkko Nieminen 6-3, 6-2 in 52 minutes. The two last played in the first round of Wimbledon last year, when Gulbis knocked out Berdych in three tie-break sets. Their FedEx ATP Head2Head series is locked at 2-2.

World No. 354 Somdev Devvarman recorded his fourth win of the season as he battled past home hope Benoit Paire 7-6(6), 6-7(7), 6-4 in two hours and 37 minutes.  

Off court on Tuesday, Australian Bernard Tomic visited La Timone children’s hospital together with his physio, Salvador Sosa. Tomic spent time signing autographs and answering questions for children not able to leave their rooms after surgery.

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