Playing in his first match since losing the pre-quarter-finals of the Australian Open 2019 to Rafael Nadal, Tomas Berdych was made to work hard by German qualifier Matthias Bachinger in the first round of the Open Sud de France in Montpellier on Tuesday.
The former Wimbledon runner-up dropped his serve thrice to concede the tight first set 5-7 but was then able to rebound strongly for a 5-7, 6-3, 6-3 victory in 2 hours 12 minutes. The Czech now meets the eighth seed Benoit Paire, a 7-5, 6-3 winner over Evgeny Donskoy.
A back injury had kept the 33-year-old away from the game for a major chunk of the 2018 season and he only made his return at the start of this year. Berdych has been able to get quite a few matches under his belt since then by reaching the final at Doha and the Round of 16 at Melbourne.
Also winning yesterday was Ernests Gulbis. The highly-talented Latvian, who is now languishing at 83 in the world rankings, defeated Hubert Hurkacz 6-4, 7-6(5).
Monfils, Berrettini progress in Sofia
Over at the Sofia Open in Bulgaria, seventh-seeded Gael Monfils needed less than an hour to prevail over Viktor Troicki 6-3, 6-4 in what was a smashing start to his campaign at this ATP 250 indoor hardcourt tournament.
Rising Italian youngster Matteo Berrettini kept his singles winning run going. A few days after playing a crucial role in Italy's Davis Cup Qualifier victory over India at Kolkata, the 22-year-old needed 1 hour 32 minutes to beat veteran Denis Istomin 6-4, 7-6(7). Up next for the World No. 53 is the top seed Karen Khachanov.
Seeds tumble in Cordoba
At the only clay court event going on this week in Cordoba, Argentina, a couple of seeds were upset in the first round. World No. 112 Juan Ignacio Londero, a local wildcard, put up a brilliant performance to stun the 41st ranked Nicolas Jarry 6-2, 7-6(5). This was Londero's maiden career win on the ATP World Tour.
In a blockbuster all-Argentine clash, Federico Delbonis edged his seventh-seeded compatriot Leonardo Mayer 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-3 in a thriller that lasted 2 hours 28 minutes.
Pablo Cuevas too progressed, courtesy of a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Facundo Bagnis.