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  • Isner rolls at Roland Garros, Benneteau holds off Berankis

    5/28/13 5:54 AM | Ricky Dimon
    Isner rolls at Roland Garros, Benneteau holds off Berankis John Isner makes three-set work of Carlos Berlocq on Monday at the French Open. Isner is joined in the second round by Julien Benneteau, a four-set winner over Ricardas Berankis.

    (19) John Isner d. Carlos Berlocq 6-3, 6-4, 6-4

    First-round matches at Grand Slams have not exactly been a problem for Isner to win in the past. The problem is that he has generally spent too much time getting through them for his hopes of progressing deep into those tournaments. Isner had so such issue against Berlocq, a tough clay-courter, during Monday action at the French Open. The 6'9'' American fired 14 aces to just one double-fault and he held 14 of 15 service games to advance in one hour and 56 minutes.

    "I feel like I've been playing well," said Isner, who won a title in Houston on the slow stuff but had since tallied a 1-4 record on European clay. "The last two matches that I've lost, it was the case where I won more points than my opponent but lost the match. Felt like I really have been hitting the ball well ever since I've been over here in Europe. Just not really putting it together. So I just tried to stay positive."

    Next up for Roland Garros' No. 19 seed is countryman Ryan Harrison, a straight-set winner over Andrey Kuznetsov.

    (30) Julien Benneteau d. Ricardas Berankis 7-6(5), 6-3, 5-7, 7-6(5)

    Benneteau nearly wrapped this one up in straight sets, but the veteran Frenchman ended up needing three hours and 12 minutes to see off Berankis. The world No. 32 broke serve once in each of the four sets, which was good enough to take the first in a tiebreaker and the second in relatively routine fashion. It appeared to be enough in the third, as well, when Benneteau served for the match at 5-4. Starting at 40-0, however, the crowd favorite suddenly cracked. He squandered all three match points, dropped serve, then was broken again at 5-6 to prolong the proceedings.

    Following a brief medical timeout, Benneteau steadied himself in the fourth. Berankis again battled back from a break down, but this time he had to play another tiebreaker. The 22-year-old Lithuanian also recovered from a mini-break deficit in the decider, but an errant forehand on his service point at 5-6 ended his comeback effort. On Wednesday Benneteau will face Tobias Kamke, a 6-3, 6-3, 3-6, 0-6, 6-3 winner over Paolo Lorenzi.

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