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Dimitrov Made To Work; Seppi Upsets Youzhny

Monte-Carlo, Monaco

Seppi© Getty ImagesAndreas Seppi upset 13th seed Mikhail Youzhny.

Grigor Dimitrov had his work cut out for him in the first round of the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters on Tuesday. The 12th-seeded Bulgarian trailed by a break of serve in the deciding set before reeling off the final six games of the match to beat Marcel Granollers 6-2, 4-6, 6-2.

"I think I slowed down a little bit and that became a little bit of a problem for me," he said. "Next thing I know, I'm down a break in the third set. I had to switch right into another gear and hold strong until the end."

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The 22-year-old Dimitrov has made a career-best start to the season and plays in Monte-Carlo at a career-high World No. 14 in the Emirates ATP Rankings. The right-hander reached his first Grand Slam quarter-final at the Australian Open (l. to Nadal) and knocked out Andy Murray en route to lifting the trophy in Acapulco (d. Anderson). He next will face Spain’s Albert Ramos.

Italian Andreas Seppi upset 13th seed Mikhail Youzhny 6-3, 7-6(4). Under sunny skies at the Monte-Carlo Country Club, Seppi advanced in just over two hours, saving six of the seven break points he faced. The 30-year-old Seppi earned his sixth win of the season and will look to claim back-to-back wins for the first time in 2014 when he faces Pablo Andujar in the second round.

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Another seed fell as French qualifier Michael Llodra knocked out 16th seed Jerzy Janowicz 6-4, 6-2 in 66 minutes. Janowicz, a semi-finalist at Wimbledon last year, suffered his sixth successive defeat, dating back to the Rotterdam quarter-finals. Llodra, playing singles for the first time since Marseille in February, will face Lukas Rosol next.

“I know his forehand is very strong only cross court,” said Llodra. “I noticed he was always serving in the same places. I believe he's not used to clay yet. So I chose the option to be aggressive on my returns. It's like this last return: I had anticipated he was going to play my backhand, and I was able to hit the ball hard.”

Llodra was joined in the second round by countryman Gael Monfils, who upset No. 14 seed Kevin Anderson 6-4, 7-6(4) in one hour and 32 minutes. The 27-year-old Monfils improved to a 15-5 mark on the season, highlighted by winning the Montpellier title (d. Gasquet) and reaching the Doha final (l. to Nadal).

"I played well," said Monfils. "I had some good hits. I was happy with my serve. I was trying to focus on my serve and on the first shot just after that, trying to be aggressive. I was able to do it, so I'm happy. I didn't have much preparation on clay, only two days. I'm still making mistakes. I'm not moving perfectly yet."

Yen-Hsun Lu earned a second-round clash with eighth seed Milos Raonic after he defeated Federico Delbonis 7-6(5), 6-1. Meanwhile, Marin Cilic will face Australian Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka after defeating lucky loser Marinko Matosevic 6-1, 3-6, 6-2. Matosevic replaced Fernando Verdasco in the main draw after the Spaniard pulled out with a right groin strain.

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