Monfils Extends Perfect Record Against Troicki

Basilashvili beaten in straight sets

On his Sofia Open debut, Gael Monfils needed just under an hour to defeat Viktor Troicki 6-3, 6-4 on Tuesday.

The seventh-seeded Frenchman won 84 per cent of first-serve points (26/31) and saved all four break points he faced against the 2016 runner-up to reach the second round. With his fourth straight-sets victory over Troicki, Monfils improves to 5-0 in his FedEx ATP Head2Head series against the Serbian.

"I feel very good [in Sofia]. There is a great energy here, the people are very nice and it is an amazing stadium," said Monfils. "It was a very good [match], I returned very good and the key was a great serve."

Monfils will face Laslo Djere or Mikhail Kukushkin for a place in the quarter-finals. The 32-year-old owns a 1-1 FedEx ATP Head2Head series record against Kukushkin and has not met Djere at tour-level. 

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Robin Haase defeated Dimitar Kuzmanov of Bulgaria 6-2, 6-4 in 74 minutes. The 31-year-old saved all three break points the wild card earned to book a second-round meeting against third seed Daniil Medvedev.

Daniel Brands upset fifth seed Nikoloz Basilashvili 7-6(7), 7-5 to book his place in the second round. The German qualifier, appearing in his first ATP Tour event this season, saved two set points in each set to claim his first tour-level victory since beating Marco Chiudinelli in the Bulgarian capital two years ago.

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Fellow qualifier Yannick Maden also reached the second round, upsetting Adrian Mannarino 6-4, 7-6(4). Maden will meet eighth seed Andreas Seppi or Marton Fucsovics for a quarter-final spot.

There were mixed fortunes for Italian players in Sofia. Roman Matteo Berrettini defeated Denis Istomin 6-4, 7-6(7) to reach the second round, but Jan-Lennard Struff of Germany overcame qualifier Stefano Travaglia 6-4, 6-3. Berrettini will meet top seed Karen Khachanov in the second round, while Struff will face second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas.

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