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Monfils Battles Past Kubot; Davydenko Ousts Benneteau

Montpellier, France

Monfils© OSDF/JBAGael Monfils was made to work hard for his first-round win.

Fifth seed and former champion Gael Monfils was made to work hard for his opening win at the Open Sud de France on Wednesday in Montpellier. The Frenchman battled past Lukasz Kubot 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 in just under two hours.

Monfils saved six of the seven break points he faced as he levelled his FedEx ATP Head2Head with Kubot at 1-1. The 27 year old improved to a 13-3 record in Montpellier, where he lifted the trophy in 2010 (d. Ljubicic) and finished runner-up in 2005 (l. to Roddick – in Lyon) and 2012 (l. to Berdych). The right-hander is chasing his fifth ATP World Tour title and first since 2011 at the If Stockholm Open.

Monfils goes on to face World No. 50 Joao Sousa, who rallied from a set down to defeat Tobias Kamke 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 in one hour and 44 minutes and claim his first tour-level win of the season.

Seventh-seeded Frenchman Edouard Roger-Vasselin also advanced with a first-round win over a Polish player, defeating Michal Przysiezny 7-6(3), 6-3, despite capitalising on just one of his 14 break points.

The 38th-ranked Roger-Vasselin next meets World No. 104 Dustin Brown, who edged Teymuraz Gabashvili 4-6, 6-1, 7-6(1) in one hour and 50 minutes. The German hit nine aces and broke serve four times to advance. Brown opened his 2014 season with a quarter-final showing as a qualifier at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha. (l. to Gojowczyk).

Former World No. 3 Nikolay Davydenko upset eighth seed Julien Benneteau 7-6(6), 7-5 to progress in one hour and 42 minutes. The Russian claimed just his second win of the season and is looking to win his 22nd ATP World Tour title this week.

Sixth seed Jarkko Nieminen reached the second round. The Finn was a semi-finalist in Montpellier last year (l. to Gasquet) and has reached at least the quarter-finals on all three of his appearances. He advanced when Aleksandr Nedovyesov retired from their match with a right shoulder injury, with the score balanced at 4-6, 6-2, 4-4.

Top Two Seeds Advance In Doubles
Second seeds Rameez Junaid and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi reached the Montpellier quarter-finals with a 6-3, 6-0 win over French wild cards Guillaume Rufin and Gilles Simon. The Australian/Pakistani duo are playing their first ATP World Tour event together.

In remaining first-round matches, top seeds Andre Begemann and Martin Emmrich defeated Jamie Delgado and Andreas Siljestrom 6-3, 7-6(1), while Marc Gicquel and Nicolas Mahut beat James Cerretani and Adil Shamasdin 6-1, 7-6(2).

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