• Monfils, Troicki in action on Thursday

    1/18/12 8:42 PM | Kelli DeMario
    Monfils, Troicki in action on Thursday Tournament seeds Gael Monfils and Viktor Troicki will be in second-round action at the Australian Open, set to take on respective opponents Thomaz Bellucci and Mikhail Kukushkin.

    (14) Gael Monfils vs. Thomaz Bellucci

    World No. 15 Gael Monfils began the tournament with a three-set victory over Australia’s Marinko Matosevic. The 25-year-old Frenchman converted five of 11 break points, through to a 7-6(5), 6-3, 6-3 win in two hours and 22 minutes.

    He is bidding for his fifth consecutive third-round berth in Melbourne.

    Bellucci dismissed Dudi Sela in the first round, 7-6(5), 6-4, 6-3. The 24-year-old looks to reach his first round of 32 at the tournament.

    Prediction: Monfils in four sets.

    (19) Viktor Troicki vs. Mikhail Kukushkin

    World No. 23 Viktor Troicki holds a 3-0 lifetime edge against Mikhail Kukushkin. Thursday signals their third hard-court meeting.

    Troicki survived an extended first-round battle with former world No. 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero. After dropping the first two sets, the 19th seed rallied to close the match in five, 4-6, 6-7(3), 6-2, 7-6(3), 6-2.

    He remains on course to make his second round of 32 at the Australian Open.

    Kukushkin downed Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in the first round, 6-4, 6-3, 6-0. The 24-year-old remains on track to reach his first round of 32 in Melbourne.

    Prediction: Troicki in four sets.

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Current ATP-rankings

1. Djokovic 12 500 pts
2. Murray 8 750 pts
3. Federer 8 670 pts
4. Ferrer 6 970 pts
5. Nadal 6 385 pts

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