9/18/12 6:36 PM | Ricky Dimon
Gael Monfils gets his first win in more than four months as he rolls over Olivier Rochus on Tuesday in Metz. Fellow Frenchman Benoit Paire also advances with a victory at the expense of Xavier Malisse.
(7) Gael Monfils d. Olivier Rochus 6-3, 6-2
Monfils had been sidelined with more knee problems ever since the Nice clay-court event in May, but he returned to action on Tuesday afternoon and crushed Rochus in one hour and three minutes during first-round action at the Moselle Open. The Frenchman's comeback got off to an inauspicious start when he was broken in the opening game, but from there it was all Monfils.
Rochus dropped serve in the second game and again at 3-4 before watching his opponent close out the set in style. Monfils broke right away in the second and never came close to giving it back, as he surrendered a mere four points in his last four service games. The world No. 44 added one more break for good measure and then served out the match at love. Monfils, who awaits either Nicolas Mahut or Daniel Brands, fired an incredible 21 aces.
Benoit Paire d. Xavier Malisse 6-1, 6-4
Paire served at an awful 45 percent but still dropped serve only once as he rolled through his Metz opener against Malisse in just 53 minutes. The 51st-ranked Frenchman saved the lone break point he faced in the first set, so two breaks of his own were more than enough for him to close things out at 5-1.
Malisse made a slight push after getting broken to start the second. The 32-year-old Belgian won two straight games for a brief 2-1 lead, but he quickly donated serve again at 2-2. Paire eventually served out the proceedings, double-faulting on his first match point at 5-4 before Malisse netted a backhand return at ad-in. Next up for Paire is a rematch with Philipp Kohlschreiber, who survived their second-round U.S. Open thriller in a fifth-set tiebreaker.
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