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Tomic Opens Title Defence; Mahut Sets Del Potro Meeting

Sydney, Australia

Stepanek© Getty ImagesRadek Stepanek overcame Australia's Samuel Groth in the first round.

Bernard Tomic opened his title defence at the Apia International Sydney with an emphatic 6-3, 6-0 win over Marcel Granollers on Tuesday. The Australian won his first ATP World Tour title last year on home soil, defeating Kevin Anderson in the final.

Playing his first ATP World Tour match of the season, Tomic advanced in just under an hour, saving seven of the eight break points he faced and breaking Granollers five times. 

"He was obviously very energetic and made good returns on his first three points," said Tomic. "I was a little bit tight. I did well to come back to that deuce and then lost that game. I felt like after that I was just on the ball. I was trying to focus on my tennis and not on his. Then I managed to play really good and I was happy."

Frenchman Nicolas Mahut set a second-round meeting with top seed Juan Martin del Potro after firing 12 aces in a 7-6(2), 7-5 win over American qualifier Ryan Harrison. Del Potro leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head 1-0 with victory at the 2007 US Open.

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Seventh seed Marin Cilic made his tournament debut by rallying past German qualifier Jan-Lennard Struff 3-6, 6-3, 6-3. The Croat has been working with coach Goran Ivansevic in Sydney, and will look to reach the quarter-finals for a second straight week when he next faces Uzbekistani Denis Istomin.

Radek Stepanek needed two hours and 14 minutes to overcome Australian wild card Samuel Groth 6-7(6), 7-6(5), 6-2. Groth, a quarter-finalist last week in Brisbane (l. to Chardy), served 18 aces to Stepanek's five but was broken twice in the final set after saving six break points in the first two. 

Another Australian wild card, Marinko Matosevic, had better luck against Florian Mayer, who last week upset Andy Murray in Doha. The 56th-ranked Matosevic defeated the German 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 to draw level at 2-2 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head. He will face third-seeded Italian Andreas Seppi for a place in the quarter-finals.

"Last week he beat Andy Murray. Made the semis in Doha. So I'm very happy with the win. It's a great confidence boost beating someone like Florian," said Matosevic.

Finland's Jarkko Nieminen fell early in his bid to reclaim the Sydney title, succumbing to qualifier Blaz Kavcic 6-4, 6-3. The 32 year old won this tournament as a qualifier in 2012 (d. Benneteau) and was also a finalist in 2009 (l. to Nalbandian). 

American Sam Querrey bowed out against Spanish lucky loser Albert Ramos 4-6, 6-3, 6-4. Ramos stepped in to replace Canadian Vasek Pospisil, who withdrew with lower back problems.

Bryans Begin 2014 Campaign
Two-time defending champions Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan opened their 2014 ATP World Tour campaign with a 6-3, 7-6(5) win over Lukasz Kubot and Robert Lindstedt. The Bryans won 11 titles last season and finished as the No. 1 team for a ninth time. 

Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi and Jean-Julien Rojer, who qualified for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals together in 2013, faced off across the net on Tuesday. Qureshi, reunited with former partner Rohan Bopanna, prevailed against Rojer and Horia Tecau 7-6(5), 6-7(2), 10-3 in one hour and 41 minutes.

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