Playing his first tennis since May, oft- injured Gael Monfils pleased the French faithful Tuesday with a first-round victory at the Moselle Open tennis event.
The seventh-seeded former top-10 star handled diminutive Belgian Olivier Rochus 6-3, 6-2 in 63 minutes on the indoor hardcourts at Metz Expo Parc. The athletic Frenchman Monfils clubbed 21 aces and was broken only once on Day 2.
Monfils, who was sidelined for four months because of a knee injury, captured the title in Metz in 2009 and was the runner-up here in 2005.
Meanwhile, eighth-seeded former top-10 Russian Nikolay Davydenko joined Monfils in the round of 16 with a come-from-behind 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 decision against German qualifier Mischa Zverev, the 2010 Metz runner-up.
Also on Tuesday, French qualifier Vincent Millot beat Dutchman Igor Sijsling 6-4, 6-4; another French qualifier, Clement Reix, snuck past compatriot Edouard Roger-Vasselin 6-3, 3-6, 7-5; 6-foot-10 Croat Ivo Karlovic downed French qualifier Kenny De Schepper 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-3); and France's Benoit Paire dismissed Belgian Xavier Malisse 6-1, 6-4.
This week's top seed is also the defending champion. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga defeated former titlist Ivan Ljubicic in last year's Metz finale. A Frenchman has captured the last three Moselle Open titles (Tsonga, Gilles Simon and Monfils).
Tsonga will open his 2012 Metz stay against Reix on Wednesday.