Germany’s Florian Mayer beat Gilles Muller of Luxembourg 7-6 (7/3), 6-3 on Monday to reach the second round of the Open Sud de France.
Sixth seed Mayer saved seven break points in the first set to force a tiebreaker, then broke for a 3-1 lead in the second.
Mayer made his return from a hip injury that forced him to withdraw from the Australian Open. He enjoyed his best season last year, breaking into the top 20 for the first time and beating Rafael Nadal in straight sets at the Shanghai Masters.
French wild-card Guillaume Rufin and Russian wild-card Nikolay Davydenko also advanced.
Rufin defeated Vasek Pospisil of Canada 6-4, 7-6 (8/6). The 209th-ranked Rufin won his first match in the main draw of an ATP Tour event since last year’s French Open.
Davydenko downed Stephane Robert of France 6-2, 6-1 to win his first match this season after first-round losses at the Qatar Open and at the Australian Open.
The former top 10 player won more than half of his return points to break Robert five times and he is scheduled to face fourth seed Richard Gasquet in the next round.
Top seed Ivan Ljubicic of Croatia beat Slovakia’s Karol Beck 7-6 (7/5), 3-6, 6-3 on Monday to advance to the second round of the Zagreb Indoors tournament.
Ljubicic, the 2006 champion and a finalist in 2007 and 2008, made the decisive break in the eighth game of the third set. He did not drop another point after that.
“It was a tough one, but it is important that I won and not how I did it,” Ljubicic said, adding that it was his first match for three months.
Fifth seed Andreas Seppi of Italy also advanced after beating Germany’s Daniel Brands 6-4, 7-6 (7/1), while seventh seed Robin Haase needed only 57 minutes to record his first victory of the season against Croatian wild-card Kristijan Mesaros 6-2, 6-3.
Haase won 81 percent of his first-serve points against the 23-year-old Mesaros, who was appearing in his first ATP tournament.
Germany’s Matthias Bachinger defeated Izak van der Merwe of South Africa, 6-3, 6-3, while another Slovak, Lukas Lacko, beat Italy’s Potito Starace 7-6 (7/2), 6-7 (4/7), 6-3.
VINA DEL MAR
AP, VINA DEL MAR, Chile
Leonardo Mayer of Argentina and Brazil’s Joao Souza advanced to the second round after wins on Monday at the VTR Open.
Mayer defeated Santiago Giraldo of Colombia 7-6 (7/5), 6-1 on the red-clay courts, while Souza won over Filippo Volandri of Italy, 1-6, 7-5, 7-6 (7/5).
The top four seeds in the tournament have byes into the second round. Argentine Juan Monaco is seeded No. 1 and countryman Juan Ignacio Chela is No. 2, while Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci is No. 3 and Pablo Andujar of Spain is No. 4.