Juan Martin del Potro spent just over an hour in reaching the second round of the Rotterdam World Tennis tournament as he dispatched France’s Gael Monfils 6-3, 6-4 on Tuesday.
The second seeded Argentinian is keen to improve on last year’s loss in the final to Roger Federer in what was his first appearance at the tournament.
Del Potro broke Monfils for 5-4 in the second set and sealed victory a game later as he beat a player who spent much of last season injured.
“He’s dangerous coming back from injury and is playing well,” the 24-year-old South American said. “I’m glad to be back in Rotterdam, though my memories are not the best on court after losing a year ago to Roger.”
Earlier Monfils’ compatriot Julien Benneteau joined another Frenchman Gilles Simon in the second round as he beat lucky loser Tobias Kamke of Germany 6-3, 6-2.
Their progress offset the disappointment of French No. 1 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga going out on Monday to unheralded Dutchman Igor Sijsling in three sets.
The victory over Kamke, who was drafted into the tournament proper when another Frenchman Michael Llodra pulled out through illness, sets Benneteau up with a second-round match against Romanian Victor Hanescu.
Dutch players enjoyed mixed fortunes, Thiemo de Bakker advancing as Russian opponent Mikhail Youzhny was forced to retire in the third set with a hip problem, but Latvian qualifier Ernests Gulbis beating Robin Haase 6-2, 6-1, in just 50 minutes.
AFP, SAN JOSE, California
Former world No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt rallied from a set down to defeat Blaz Kavcic 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7/4) in their first round encounter at the SAP Open on Tuesday.
The Australian trailed 3-6, 1-3 and faced a break point before rallying to take the second set. He was also in trouble in the decider, but battled back to win in 2 hours and 35 minutes.
In other action on Tuesday, Benjamin Becker overcame Ryan Harrison of the US 6-7 (3/7), 7-5, 6-3 and Canada’s Vasek Pospisil cruised past Evgeny Donskoy 7-5, 6-1.
AFP, SAO PAULO, Brazil
Rafael Nadal teamed up with Argentina’s David Nalbandian to post a three-set doubles victory in the Brazil Open late on Tuesday.
The world No. 5 — back on a court after his defeat in the Vina del Mar Open in Chile on Sunday — and his partner won 6-3, 3-6, 11-9 in 79 minutes over Spaniards Pablo Andujar and Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in the first round of the ATP clay court event.
The third set was hard fought with Nadal and Nalbandian saving two match points before prevailing 11-9. Nadal was mobbed by adoring fans as he left the court.