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Berdych Passes Gulbis Test; Tsonga, Simon Advance

Marseille, France

Berdych© Yohan Brandt/Open 13Tomas Berdych won his Marseille opener against Ernests Gulbis.

Top seed Tomas Berdych was tested in his opening second-round match at the Open 13 in Marseille on Wednesday, battling past World No. 118 Ernests Gulbis 6-4, 6-7(10), 6-4 in two hours and 12 minutes. The Czech withstood 19 aces from Gulbis, breaking the Latvian three times to avenge the defeat he suffered in the Wimbledon first round last year and advance to the quarter-finals.

The 27-year-old Berdych is competing for the first time since a marathon weekend of Davis Cup tennis, when he played 13 hours of tennis over three days to lead Czech Republic to victory over Switzerland. A quarter-finalist at the Australian Open (l. to Djokovic), the right-hander improved to an 8-2 mark in 2013.

Australian Bernard Tomic reached his second quarter-final of the season as he defeated India’s Somdev Devvarman 6-3, 7-5 in 73 minutes. The 20 year old won his first ATP World Tour title at the Apia International Sydney (d. Anderson) in the first week of the year.

Third seed and former champion Jo-Wilfied Tsonga hit nine aces and broke serve twice as he defeated Russia’s Nikolay Davydenko 7-6(1), 6-3 in the second round. The Frenchman lifted the Marseille trophy in 2009 with victory over Michael Llodra and has a 12-4 event record.

Gilles Muller followed up his upset victory over 10th-ranked Richard Gasquet by edging Marcel Granollers 7-6(2), 7-6(1). Muller awaits the winner of No. 4 seed Janko Tipsarevic and qualifier Dmitry Tursunov.

The 27-year-old Tsonga bounced back from the first-round defeat he suffered in Rotterdam last week (l. to Sijsling). He started the season by reaching the Australian Open quarter-finals, extending Roger Federer to five sets in defeat.

In remaining first-round action, sixth seed Gilles Simon beat Robin Haase of The Netherlands 7-5, 7-5. The Frenchman converted four of his 12 break points to claim victory in 90 minutes.

The No. 13-ranked Simon is coming off a semi-final showing at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam (l. to Benneteau) and improved to a 9-4 match record on the season. He won the Marseille title in 2007 (d. Baghdatis).

Last week’s Rotterdam runner-up Julien Benneteau continued his good form with a 7-6(0), 6-3 first-round victory over wild card Lucas Pouille, but his fellow Frenchman, Edouard Roger-Vasselin was beaten by Russia’s Dmitry Tursunov, 7-5, 6-3.

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