Tokyo, Japan (Sports Network) - Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Nicolas Almagro were
among the winners Monday on the first day of play at the Japan Open.
The second-seeded Tsonga knocked off fellow Frenchman Gael Monfils, 6-3, 7-6
(10-8), while the sixth-seeded Almagro needed a pair of tiebreakers to squeeze
past German qualifier Benjamin Becker, 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-3).
Tsonga, the 2009 Tokyo champ, is playing just his second tournament after
recovering from a knee injury suffered at Wimbledon. He was the runner-up in
Metz eight days ago, falling to fellow Frenchman Gilles Simon in the final.
Almagro struggled all summer after leaving the clay. The Spaniard was a
semifinalist at the German Open on the slow surface in July, but then lost
four straight matches on hard courts, including a first-round ouster at the
U.S. Open, prior to Monday's win.
Two unseeded winners Monday were Finland's Jarkko Nieminen and Alexandr
Dolgopolov of the Ukraine. Nieminen topped Argentina's Juan Monaco, 7-6 (7-4),
6-1, while Dolgopolov eased past Germany's Daniel Brands, 6-3, 6-1.
First-round play will continue Tuesday. Top-seeded Juan Martin del Potro will
meet Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus and defending champion Kei Nishikori of Japan
will take on Austrian veteran Jurgen Melzer.
The Sports Network