1/7/13 8:26 AM | Ricky Dimon
Julien Benneteau holds off Pablo Andujar on Monday in Sydney. Benneteau advances in three sets and awaits either Radek Stepanek or Guillermo Garcia-Lopez.
Julien Benneteau scored a 6-3, 5-7, 6-2 victory over Pablo Andujar in the first round of the Apia International on Monday afternoon. Benneteau broke serve eight times to advance in one hour and 58 minutes.
Although things got needless tricky for the 2012 runner-up, Benneteau opened the match in relative cruise-control. He dropped serve once in the first set but held his other three service games with extreme ease. Benneteau earned three breaks of his own, the last of which finished it off in style.
Neither man could take care of his serve early in two. A comedy of errors resulted in six consecutive breaks en route to a 3-3 deadlock. After three straight holds, Benneteau found himself with triple match point at 4-5, 0-40 on his opponent's serve. Andujar dug out of the hole, saved four match points in total, and held for 5-5. Amidst such disappointment, Benneteau could not recover and he lost two more games in lightning-quick fashion to throw away the set.
The Frenchman finally managed to steady himself in set three. He did not face a single break point, so one break at 2-1 would have been enough. Instead, Benneteau struck again at 5-2 to wrap up the proceedings in appropriate fashion.
Next up for the world No. 35 is either Radek Stepanek or Guillermo Garcia-Lopez.
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