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Tennis: Dimitrov continues streak as Mahut cheers home fans

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov continued his rich vein of form on Tuesday as he marched into the second round of the Paris Masters with a three-set win over Frenchman Michael Llodra.

The lanky 22-year-old lost the opening set in a tie-break before taking control and setting up a meeting against Italian 16th seed Fabio Fognini with a 6-7 (5/7), 6-3, 6-3 victory.

The highly touted Dimitrov picked up his first ATP win last weekend when he triumphed in Stockholm and continues to impress since taking on Leyton Hewitt's former coach Roger Rasheed.

Llodra meanwhile, who is a two-time semi-finalist at Bercy, became the fifth Frenchman to be eliminated in two days of action.

"The difference was when I started missing my first serves. I've really had difficulties serving really hard lately, so if my first serve isn't perfect, then he returns well and it's tough for me," explained a dejected Llodra.

"He's very good in passing and he's extremely fast.

"He's extremely serious in training and I believe we'll see him soon go to the top." continued Llodra.

The home record was finally improved by Nicolas Mahut who fired down eight aces to subdue Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov 7-6 (8/6), 6-1.

Mahut, who played the longest match in history against American John Isner at Wimbledon 2010, won 93 per cent of his first serve points and broke the spirit of his opponent in the crucial opening set tie-break.

The 1.90m (6ft 3in), 25-year-old never dropped his serve while breaking his opponent three times in a one-sided finale to the match.

He can now look forward to playing 15th seeded compatriot Gilles Simon in an all-French second round tie, a player he met recently.

"Well, we played each other three weeks ago and I lost in straight sets," said Mahut.

"I have many regrets on that match. I had the feeling that I was doing some things well, and others I was not doing well. At 6-5 he was imposing his own game. He was able to make me play badly.

"But I'm going to use that match to do the same thing tomorrow (Wednesday), I hope I can win that match tomorrow." added Mahut.

Croatian Ivan Dodig scraped past Frenchman Edouard Roger-Vasselin in a scrappy 7-6 (8/6), 6-4 victory as he moves on to oppose Spaniard Nicolas Almagro in the second round.

The big serving 25-year-old rained down 20 aces on his French debutant but nine double faults made life difficult before he eventually sealed only his second career win at Bercy.

Earlier, Poland's Michal Przysiezny broke his duck against veteran Jarkko Nieminen by defeating the Finn for the first time in four meetings 6-3, 7-6 (8/6).

The 29-year-old, who came into the week ranked 65 in the world will now face American 13th seed Isner for a place in the last-16.

Spaniard Pablo Andujar took full advantage of an injury suffered by Gael Monfils on the eve of his first round match against Canadian Davis Cup semi-finalist Vasek Pospisil.

The 'lucky loser' led all the way as he stepped in to face the world number 32 and while he needed five match points to close out the match, he got the job done 6-4, 2-6, 6-4.

Instead of heading bach home, he can now relish the prospect of a high profile second round tie against Czech sixth seed Thomas Berdych.

World number two Novak Djokovic makes his bow in the final match of the evening on Tuesday when he takes on French qualifier Pierre-Hugues Herbert.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/131029/tennis-dimitrov-continues-streak-mahut-cheers-home-fans