Qualifiers Dimitar Kutrovsky and Denis Kudla booked matches against the highest seeds at the ATP San Jose Open with three-set triumphs on Tuesday at the US$531,000 indoor hardcourt event.
Bulgarian Kutrovsky outlasted US qualifier Dennis Lajola 6-7 (7/9), 6-3, 7-6 (7/3) in a first-round matchup to book a second-round date with French top seed Gael Monfils.
The Frenchman seeks his fifth career ATP crown after making a semi-final run at San Jose last year. Monfils and three other top seeds were given first-round byes.
Kudla outlasted US wild card Jack Sock 6-4, 6-7 (6/8), 6-3 and advanced to a second-round meeting with US second seed Andy Roddick, a three-time San Jose champion.
Sock surrendered a break on his fifth double fault to give Kudla a 4-2 lead in the final set. Kudla smashed his eighth ace to hold for a 5-2 edge and held serve at love in the final game of the match.
Luxembourg’s Gilles Muller rallied to oust US qualifier Tim Smyczek 2-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-3 and book a second-round match against either the US’ Ryan Sweeting or French fifth seed Julien Benneteau.
World No. 70 Muller snapped a four-match losing streak with the win over Smyczek.
In other matches, Steve Darcis of Belgium needed a pair of tiebreakers to defeat Steve Johnson of the US 7-6 (7/4), 7-6 (7/5).
AFP, ROTTERDAM, NETHERLANDS
Jarkko Nieminen and Andreas Seppi made fighting recoveries after Davis Cup losses at the weekend, with both advancing into the second round of the Rotterdam Open on Tuesday.
Finland’s Nieminen, whose nation lost a European zonal tie against the Netherlands 5-0, battled 6-1, 6-7 (7/9), 7-5 past 151st-ranked Dutchman Igor Sijsling.
Seppi played and was beaten in a pair of singles rubbers during Italy’s defeat by the Czech Republic in Ostrava, with the No. 45 regaining some pride by putting out South African qualifier Rik De Voest 1-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-2.
Serbian seventh seed Viktor Troicki made a quick turnaround from a successful Davis Cup week, defeating Dutchman Thiemo de Bakker 7-6 (8/6), 6-0, as German Philipp Kohlschreiber defeated Spanish eighth seed Marcel Granollers 6-1, 1-6, 6-4.
Nieminen, who upset Spanish top-five player David Ferrer in the first round a year ago, also came through in a struggle with unfancied crowd favorite Sijsling, the Dutch No. 3 who had not played an ATP-level match since a Metz quarter-final nearly five months ago.
The tournament field is headed by Roger Federer, playing for the first time since his title in 2005. Czech Tomas Berdych is seeded second ahead of Juan Martin del Potro, with all of the leading three on court yesterday for first-round play.