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Janowicz Scrapes Through Opener; Rafa Returns

Montreal, Canada

Janowicz © Arturo Velazquez – Tennis CanadaJerzy Janowicz wins on his Montreal debut.

Jerzy Janowicz admitted he was far from his best, but re-affirmed his Top 10 ambitions after scraping past Julien Benneteau 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 on Tuesday in the first round of the Coupe Rogers in Montreal.

The Pole has played just one tournament since his stunning run to the Wimbledon semi-finals (l. to Murray), suffering an arm injury in Hamburg. With the third set seemingly headed to a tie-break after Janowicz had rescued a 4-2 deficit, the Pole was gifted a service break as Benneteau hit three double faults at 5-5 and he duly served out in just over two hours. 

“Today I didn’t play my best tennis,” said Janowicz. “After the match in Hamburg, I didn’t practise at all, I only did physical training. I only started hitting in Montreal, so I’m not in top shape. I was struggling a little bit, but without my best game I was able to win. Maybe Julien got a little bit nervous when he hit three double faults in his last service game.”

This season has seen the continued breakthrough of Janowicz, who reached the final of the BNP Paribas Masters (l. to Ferrer) in Paris at the close of 2012. After reaching his first major semi-final at Wimbledon, he reached a career-high World No. 17 in the Emirates ATP Rankings and has set his sights on the Top 10. “If I’m going to play my best tennis, anything can happen. If I could finish the year in the Top 10, I'd be really happy,” said Janowicz.

Read: The Pole-veriser | Read: Who’s Next? Peliwo

Czech Radek Stepanek broke serve five times as he knocked out 12th seed Nicolas Almagro 6-3, 6-7(4), 6-3 in one hour and 46 minutes. The 34-year-old Stepanek earned a clash with home hope Vasek Pospisil

On his ATP World Tour debut, last year’s junior No. 1 Filip Peliwo reached the second round with victory over Jarkko Nieminen. The 19-year-old Canadian wild card saved one match point and was leading 3-6, 7-5, 3-1 when Nieminen was forced to retire. He could have the chance to face World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, should he overcome Denis Istomin in the next round.

"It's unbelievable," said Peliwo. "Especially being down, I thought the match was pretty much over. I was down two breaks, and that match point, I don't really know what I did. I just threw my hands up at the volley and it went in. It was definitely the best feeling I've had in a while. It's such a big win for me. Ranking wise, I'll get a lot of points."

Russian Alex Bogomolov Jr. defeated Frenchman Michael Llodra 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 to set up a second-round meeting with third seed David Ferrer. Meanwhile, Ukraine’s Alexandr Dolgopolov will face No. 5 seed Tomas Berdych after knocking out Atlanta finalist Kevin Anderson 7-6(0), 6-4.

Nadal Returns In Doubles
In an all-Spanish first-round doubles clash, Rafael Nadal and Pablo Andujar edged David Ferrer and Feliciano Lopez 6-7(2), 6-1, 12-10. They had trailed 7-9 in the Match Tie-break. Nadal is returning to action for the first time since a shock first-round loss at Wimbledon five weeks ago and is playing with Andujar for the first time as he looks to win his ninth ATP World Tour doubles title.

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