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Stepanek Ousts Youzhny In Munich; Gulbis Sets Haas Clash

Munich, Germany

Stepanek© AFP/Getty ImagesRadek Stepanek recorded his fourth win of the season.

Former World No. 8 Radek Stepanek will face Serbia’s Viktor Troicki in the second round of the BMW Open after recording just his fourth win of the season on Tuesday in Munich. The Czech player upset 2010 champion and seventh seed Mikhail Youzhny 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, while Troicki was a 6-3, 6-2 winner over German qualifier Matthias Bachinger.

Stepanek, who had lost in the first round of two tournaments since returning from neck disc surgery, broke serve five times from 15 opportunities to prevail in two hours and 27 minutes. The 34 year old, a two-time semi-finalist in Munich, has played Troicki nine times before, inching into a 5-4 lead in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series after winning a five-set contest in the first round of this year’s Australian Open.

Frenchman Gael Monfils, making his first Munich appearance in five years, opened with a 6-3, 6-3 win over eighth-seeded Austrian Jurgen Melzer. The former World No. 7 will look to string together consecutive match wins since the Australian Open when he next plays German Daniel Brands.

Latvia’s Ernests Gulbis set a second-round clash with third-seeded Tommy Haas after beating Jarkko Nieminen of Finland 6-4, 6-2. Gulbis, who triumphed at Delray Beach in February, hit eight aces and saved all six break points he faced. On his run to the Delray Beach title, Gulbis edged Haas in a third set tie-break and leads their Head2Head 2-1.

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Top seed Janko Tipsarevic will open his campaign against Grega Zemlja after the Slovenian dismissed Australian qualifier John Millman 6-2, 6-2 in 69 minutes.

"I’m really feeling good here in Munich," said Tipsarevic on Tuesday. "I’m hitting the ball right. 

"This is a really tough field. The cutoff is ridiculous, about 55 [in the Emirates ATP Rankings] for a 250 event. That’s as close to a Masters [1000] as you can get. Of course there are favourites: Tommy, he’s playing well; Philipp [Kohlschreiber], he’s won it before. It’s a very tough tournament, but I’m happy that I’m playing really well in practice. I think it’s just a matter of time before I execute that in matches."

Fifth seed Alexandr Dolgopolov advanced to the second round in under an hour, dismissing fellow Ukrainian Sergiy Stakhovsky 6-4, 6-2. The 24-year-old Dolgopolov lost only eight points on serve and broke Stakhovsky three times.

Sixth-seeded German Florian Mayer opened his campaign with a hard-fought 7-6(2), 4-6, 7-5 victory over Poland’s Lukasz Kubot. Mayer is coming off a semi-final showing in Bucharest (l. to Garcia-Lopez) and is bidding to go one better than 2011 in Munich, when he finished runner-up to Nikolay Davydenko

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Kazakhstani qualifier Evgeny Korolev claimed his first ATP World Tour-level win of the season as he edged Marcos Baghdatis 7-5, 7-6(3) in one hour and 36 minutes.

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