Muller, Kohlschreiber Reach Rotterdam Second Round
Gael Monfils and Tommy Robredo feature in the evening session
Gilles Muller will take on second seed and 2014 runner-up Marin Cilic in the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament second round after beating Andreas Seppi for the first time in their fourth tour-level meeting. Muller, who has already reached two ATP World Tour semi-finals this year, hit 19 aces to beat Seppi 4-6, 7-6(2), 6-4 in two hours and seven minutes on Tuesday. Last week, Muller lost to eventual champion Roberto Bautista Agut in the Sofia semi-finals.
Another player who performed well in the Bulgarian capital, Philipp Kohlschreiber, improved to 6-0 lifetime against Julien Benneteau with a 6-4, 6-4 win in 90 minutes. Benneteau, the 2013 finalist, struck 14 aces. Kohlschreiber goes onto face qualifier Ivan Dodig in the second round.
Marcos Baghdatis recovered from a 2/5 deficit in the third set tie-break to edge past fourth seed David Goffin 6-1, 5-7, 7-6(5). Baghdatis claimed victory only after winning a 41-stroke rally on match point. "It was an amazing point. I was just defending, slicing three metres behind the baseline," Baghdatis said. "I kept putting the ball back and making him do something and eventually he made a mistake."
Flamboyant Frenchman Gael Monfils atoned for a first-round loss last week in Montpellier with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Latvian qualifier Ernests Gulbis to reach the second round. The fifth seed saved the lone break point he faced and broke Gulbis once in each set. He next faces fast-rising Croatian teen Borna Coric.
"That was the key for me, I served great," said Monfils. "I definitely put pressure on his forehand and tried to be alert. We know Ernests can give you one, two, three points in a row. I tried to be ready for anything he was willing to give me."
Looking ahead to his first meeting with Coric, Monfils said, "It's going to be a tough one. He's a young player, strong from the baseline, and runs well. It's tough to hit winners on this court, so tomorrow I'm expecting long rallies. I will try to dictate with my forehand and try to serve good, move him around the court."
Martin Klizan saved all six break points he faced in a 6-2, 6-7(5), 6-3 win over Spanish veteran Tommy Robredo to reach the second round. The World No. 43 Slovak, who went winless in January, has now won four of his past five matches. A semi-finalist last week in Sofia, 26-year-old Klizan will next face Baghdatis.