Benoit Paire, Jarkko Nieminen hurdle first-round rivals in France

Fitzgerald Cecilio – 4E Sports Reporter

Montpellier, France (4E Sports) – Eighth seed Benoit Paire got off to a strong start, beating Spanish qualifier Adrian Menendez-Maceiras, 6-0, 6-2, in just 44 minutes Tuesday to book a spot in the second round of the Open Sud de France.

Paire, who dropped only seven points on serve, will next face Belgium’s Steve Darcis, who beat French wild card Adrian Mannarino 6-4, 7-6(0) in one hour and 31 minutes.

Former world No. 13 Jarkko Nieminen cruised into the second round after dismissing French qualifier Florent Serra, 6-3, 6-2, in 62 minutes. He converted four of his nine break points and won 72 percent of points behind his first serve.

The 31-year-old Nieminen goes on to face fifth-seeded Russian Nikolay Davydenko, hoping to reach the quarterfinals of this event for the third time in as many visits.

Meanwhile, world No. 59 Victor Hanescu recorded his first tour-level win of the season as he defeated Spanish qualifier Guillermo Olaso, 6-1, 7-6(6) in 71 minutes.

Czech Jan Hajek also scored his first win of the year, rallying from a set down to beat Dudi Sela, 2-6, 7-5, 6-1, while Gael Monfils defeated Ruben Bemelmans, 7-5, 6-4.

In Croatia, Ivo Karlovic fired 18 aces to beat seventh seed Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria, 7-6(3), 7-6(3), Tuesday in the first round of the PBZ Zagreb Indoors.

Slovakian fifth seed Martin Klizan also recorded his first match win of 2013, eliminating Italian lucky loser Matteo Viola, 4-6, 7-6(6), 6-1, in two hours and 31 minutes.

German qualifier Philipp Petzschner arranged a second-round duel with Italian No. 2 seed Andreas Seppi after beating Croatian wild card Mate Pavic. 7-5, 6-2 in 61 minutes.

Two Slovenians also advanced in three-set battles with Grega Zemlja beating Serbia’s Ilija Bozoljac 6-7(5), 7-6(4), 6-2 and Blaz Kavcic defeating countryman Aljaz Bedene 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-3.

Indian Somdev Devvarman also advanced to the second round when his opponent, German qualifier Michael Berrer, retired due to fatigue in the third set. Devvarman was leading 0-6, 7-6(6), 4-1.

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