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Ferrer Opens Valencia Defence; Isner Edges Gulbis

Valencia, Spain

Isner© Queimadelos/Valencia Open 500John Isner did not lose serve in his first-round win over Ernests Gulbis.

Top seed David Ferrer opened his bid for a fourth Valencia Open 500 crown on Wednesday as he defeated Gael Monfils 6-3, 6-2. The Spaniard prevailed in 62 minutes over Monfils, breaking serve four times and winning 74 per cent of his service points. It was his second win in five FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings with Monfils.

Ferrer has a 26-5 match record in Valencia, winning the title last year with victory over Alexandr Dolgopolov to add to his triumphs in 2010 (d. Granollers) and on clay in 2008 (d. Almagro). He is coming off a runner-up showing at the If Stockholm Open last week (l. to Dimitrov) and is bidding to win his third ATP World Tour title of the season.

John Isner advanced in a serve-dominated first-round encounter with Ernests Gulbis. The American fired 17 aces and saved the eight break points he faced to defeat Gulbis 7-6(4), 7-6(2). In turn, Gulbis had saved 10 break points.

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The 28-year-old Isner is looking to reach his ninth quarter-final of the season. The American has won two ATP World Tour titles this season, in Houston (d. Almagro) and Atlanta (d. Anderson), while also reaching the finals in Cincinnati (l. to Nadal) and Washington (l. to del Potro).

Isner goes on to face France's Jeremy Chardy, who battled past Florian Mayer 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 in one hour and 45 minutes.

Unseeded Philipp Kohlschreiber upset Tommy Haas in an all-German battle 3-6, 6-3, 6-3. Haas, the second seed, won the Erste Bank Open (d. Haase) last week and had already defeated Kohlschreiber in May 2013 to hoist the BMW Open trophy. Kohlschreiber goes on to face Russian Mikhail Youzhny in the second round.

Seventh seed Fabio Fognini was the first player into the quarter-finals, dismissing 2011 champion Marcel Granollers 6-3, 6-2 in 60 minutes. The Italian improved to a 42-25 match record on his career-best season, highlighted by titles in Stuttgart (d. Kohlschreiber) and Hamburg (d. Delbonis).

Russian Dmitry Tursunov advanced with a 6-2, 7-6(3) against Roberto Bautista Agut to end the wild card's run in Valencia. Tursunov awaits the winner of the battle between Chardy and Isner.

Marrero and Verdasco Keep Sights On London Qualification

In doubles, fourth seeds David Marrero and Fernando Verdasco, both Spaniards, defeated Kevin Anderson and Jonathan Erlich 6-4, 7-6(9), 10-5. Marrero and Verdasco seek to qualify for a doubles berth at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London. In Valencia, they advance to face the team of Haas and Andre Sa.

Top seeds Mike and Bob Bryan advanced with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Italians Daniele Bracciali and Fabio Fognini. Mexico's Santiago Gonzalez and American Scott Lipsky also moved on, edging out Christopher Kas and Gilles Simon 7-6(2), 6-7(2), 10-4.

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