Berdych Battles For Opening Win In Monte-Carlo
Ninth seed Tomas Berdych survived a scare on Monday when he fought past qualifier Andrey Kuznetsov, currently No. 78 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the final match of the day at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters. Berdych goes on to face Benoit Paire or 39-year-old Tommy Haas, the oldest player in the draw, for a place in the third round.
Berdych, who is playing at the Monte-Carlo Country Club for the 13th time in the past 14 years, drew on his big-match experience to prevent Kuznetsov recording one of the biggest wins of his career. The 2015 finalist required two hours for his 14th match win of the season.
Having survived one break point in the first set, Kuznetsov broke Berdych to love for a 4-3 advantage courtesy of his rock-solid backhand. While Berdych came through a 20-point hold for 3-2 in the second set, he immediately grew in confidence to break Kuznetsov for the first time. The 31-year-old Czech went on to fire a backhand winner down the line in the third game of the decider to break Kuznetsov, who is now 0-3 lifetime at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament.
The Russian, who had earned his place in the main draw by beating former World No. 4 Mikhail Youzhny 7-6(5) in a third set tie-break on Sunday, had Top 10 wins over David Ferrer (2014 Wimbledon) and Stan Wawrinka (2016 Miami) to his name. Berdych had previously beaten Kuznetsov 7-6(4) in a deciding set tie-break in St. Petersburg last year.
Elsewhere, Pablo Cuevas, who captured his third straight Sao Paulo title in March, cruised past 2011 quarter-finalist Viktor Troicki 6-3, 6-0 in 78 minutes to break a three-match losing streak against the Serbian.