Mikhail Youzhny wins opening match at St. Petersburg Open

Fitzgerald Cecilio – 4E Sports Reporter

St. Petersburg, Russian Federation (4E Sports) – Top seed Mikhail Youzhny started his St. Petersburg Open campaign on a winning note, eliminating Canada’s Vasek Pospisil, 7-6(4), 6-1, in the first round Tuesday at Peterburgsky Sport Complex.

The Russian used three of his five break points and won 75 percent of points on first serve to finish the match in just in 80 minutes and advance against American Rajeev Ram, who defeated Matthias Bachinger, 6-4, 6-4.

The 30-year-old Youzhny is bidding to reclaim the title he won in 2004 with victory over Karol Beck. He also reached the final in 2002 and 2010.

World No. 69 Grega Zemlja converted five of seven break points to beat fifth seed Lucas Lacko, 6-3, 6-2, in 69 minutes while sixth seed Yen-Hsun Lu was beaten, 6-4, 6-2, by Spaniard Roberto Bautista-Agut in one hour and 32 minutes.

Bautista-Agut was joined in the second round by countryman Daniel Gimeno-Traver, who fired 10 aces to dismiss France’s Florent Serra 7-(5), 6-2 in one hour and 31 minutes.

In Metz, France, hometown favorite Gael Monfils unleashed 21 aces to defeat Olivier Rochus of Belgium 6-3, 6-2 in 63 minutes at the Moselle Open in his first match after a four-month absence due to knee injury.

The 26-year-old Monfils, who won the tournament in 2009, was playing his first match since a second-round exit at the Open de Nice Côte d’Azur in May.

Eighth seed Nikolay Davydenko overcame a slow start, rallying from a set down to defeat German qualifier Mischa Zverev 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 while qualifier Clement Reix earned a second-round clash with top seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga after winning over Edouard Roger-Vasselin, 6-3, 3-6, 7-5.

Second seed Philipp Kohlschreiber will open his campaign against Benoit Paire after the Frenchman dismissed Belgium’s Xavier Malisse, 6-1, 6-4 in 53 minutes.

Third seed Marcel Granollers will challenge Ivo Karlovic after the Croat fired 18 aces and saved six break points to defeat French qualifier Kenny De Schepper 7-6(5), 7-6(3).

In Guangzhou, China, top Marion Bartoli was forced to retire midway through her first-round match against Chang Kai-Chen at the GRC Bank Guangzhou International Women’s Open Tuesday due to a gastrointestinal illness.

Chang was leading 4-3 when Bartoli retired, She will now move against Hsieh Su-Wei, a 7-5 6-3 winner over Nina Bratchikova.

Also advancing to the second round were No.2 seed Zheng Jie, Sorana Cirstea, Urszula Radwanska, Peng Shuai, Alizé Cornet, Olga Govortsova and Mathilde Johansson.

In Seoul, South Korea, top seed and former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki beat Arantxa Rus, 6-1, 6-2 in just 62 minutes to advance to the second round of the KDB Korea Open.

Wozniacki fell out of the Top 10 after a first-round loss at the US Open and is playing a tournament as a non-Top 10 player for the first time in almost three and a half years.

“I was No.1 for basically two years but things change – you always go up and down the rankings,” Wozniacki said. “I’m still young, so there’s still going to be great wins and losses. It’s all just part of the game. All I can do is try my best. At the end of the year you see your ranking, and that’s it.”

Advancing to the second round together with Wozniacki were Kaia Kanepi, Ekaterina Makarova, Varvara Lepchenko, Klara Zakopalova, Anabel Medina Garrigues, Magdalena Rybarikova, Kiki Bertens, Galina Voskoboeva and qualifiers Jamie Hampton and Caroline Garcia.

However, No. 5 seed Julia Goerges was not as lucky as she lost to Sílvia Soler-Espinosa, 1-6 7-6(5), 6-2.

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