Top-seeded Mikhail Youzhny of Russia beat Michal Pospisil of Canada 7-6 (4), 6-1 on Tuesday to advance to the second round of the St Petersburg Open.
Two other seeded players went out in the early first-round matches, as Lukas Lacko of Slovakia and Lu Yen-hsun of Taiwan both lost. The fifth-seeded Lacko was beaten 6-3, 6-2 by Grega Zemlja of Slovenia, while the sixth-seeded Lu lost to Roberto Bautista-Agut of Spain 6-4, 6-2. Youzhny, the 2004 champion and a two-time runner-up, won four consecutive points in the first-set tiebreaker and then took the last five games after both players held their opening serves in the second set.
The 29th-ranked Youzhny won his eighth career title in Zagreb, Croatia, in January, but has not advanced past the second round in five events since losing to Roger Federer in the quarter-finals at Wimbledon.
“The first match at any tournaments is always not an easy one,” Youzhny said. “When he [Pospisil] served well, it was tough to receive. I’ve played few matches after Wimbledon and definitely lack practice.”
Zemlja won five consecutive games in the first set and never faced a break in the second.
“It wasn’t easy. Maybe it looked easy, but I was fighting throughout the match,” Zemlja said. “I was trying to win every point, every game.”
Daniel Gimeno-Traver of Spain advanced to the second round, eliminating Florent Serra of France 7-6 (5), 6-2.
AP, METZ, France
Seventh-seeded Gael Monfils of France made a successful return after several months out with a knee injury, beating Olivier Rochus of Belgium 6-3, 6-2 in the first round of the Moselle Open on Tuesday.
It was the 26-year-old Monfils’ first match since he lost to US player Brian Baker at the Open de Nice in May.
The former Metz champion hit 21 aces as he won in a little more than an hour to set up a match against either countryman Nicolas Mahut or Daniel Brands of Germany.
Earlier, eighth-seeded Nikokaly Davydenko of Russia overcame a shaky start to beat Mischa Zverev of Germany 2-6, 6-3, 6-3.
Davydenko had his serve broken three times in the first set against Zverev, who hit seven aces in the match. Davydenko stepped things up in the second set and converted his three break points. He next plays either Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu or Gilles Muller of Luxembourg.
Also, Clement Reix beat Edouard Roger-Vasselin 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 in an all-French match and next meets defending champion and top-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
In other first-round play, Ivo Karlovic of Croatia won 7-6 (5), 7-6 (3) against qualifier Kenny de Schepper, Vincent Millot of France beat Igor Sijsling 6-4, 6-4, and Frenchman Benoit Paire won 6-1, 6-4 against Xavier Malisse.