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Youzhny Opens St. Petersburg Bid

St. Petersburg, Russia

Top Russian Mikhail Youzhny began his 13th appearance at the St. Petersburg Open with a 6-7(5), 6-2, 6-2 win over 20-year-old countryman Aslan Karatsev on Monday.

Youzhny needed two hours and 11 minutes to get by the 334th-ranked Karatsev, who was making his tour-level debut. He was unable to capitalise on his two break points in the opening set, but went four for five on his opportunities over the final two.

The 31 year old is looking to reclaim the title he won in 2004 and improves to a 31-10 tournament record. Youzhny, a former World No. 8, broke back into the Top 20 of the Emirates ATP Rankings following his quarter-final run at the US Open (l. to Djokovic).

Kazakhstani Andrey Golubev, a potential quarter-final opponent for Youzhny, also conceded just four games after losing the first set tie-break against German Jan-Lennard Struff, winning 6-7(3), 6-3, 6-1 after one hour and 51 minutes.

Also in first round action, 17-year-old Russian wild card Karen Khachanov edged Romanian Victor Hanescu 7-6(4), 7-6(4). The unranked Khachanov is making his ATP World Tour debut this week.

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