Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Baghdatis, Gasquet advance in France Inaugural Clay Court Nice Open Tournament

Former Australian Open runner-up Marcos Baghdatis and French favorite Richard Gasquet were a pair of first-round winners Tuesday at the inaugural clay-court Nice Open, a final French Open tune-up.

The fifth-seeded Baghdatis handled French lucky-loser Laurent Recouderc 6-4, 7-5, while an unseeded Gasquet leveled Slovak Lukas Lacko 6-3, 6-0 at Nice Tennis Club. Recouderc replaced oft-injured Croat Mario Ancic in the draw, after Ancic pulled out with a bad back.

Up next for the Cypriot Baghdatis will be German Simon Greul, while Gasquet will encounter Ukrainian Oleksandr Dolgopolov Jr.

An opening-round upset came when Dolgopolov Jr. took out sixth-seeded Spaniard Albert Montanes 6-3, 7-5.

In other Day-3 action, Florent Serra topped Ukrainian qualifier Illya Marchenko 7-5, 7-6 (7-4) to reach the second round, while Ukrainian Sergiy Stakhovsky downed Italian Andreas Seppi 7-5, 6-3 to reach the quarterfinals here.

The top seed this week is Sweden's Robin Soderling, who stunned the world of tennis last spring at Roland Garros when he upset four-time champion Rafael Nadal in the fourth round and went on to lose the title match against Roger Federer.

Soderling, who enjoyed a first-round bye this week, will meet Belgian Olivier Rochus in a second-rounder here on Wednesday.

Some other second-round matches on Day 4 will pit second-seeded Spaniard Fernando Verdasco against Serra and third-seeded flashy Frenchman Gael Monfils versus Swiss Marco Chiudinelli.

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