Long-time Russian crowd favorite Mikhail Youzhny was a three-set first-round winner Monday at the St. Petersburg Open tennis event.
The second-seeded former champion overcame 20-year-old wild card and fellow Russian Aslan Karatsev 6-7 (5-7), 6-2, 6-2 on the indoor hardcourts at the St. Petersburg Sports and Concert Complex.
Youzhny titled here in 2004 and was the runner-up in 2002 and 2010.
Meanwhile, unranked 17-year-old Russian wild card Karen Khachanov beat Romanian veteran Victor Hanescu 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-4) and Kazakhstan's Andrey Golubev came back to best German Jan-Lennard Struff 6-7 (3-7), 6-3, 6-1.
This week's top seed is Italian Fabio Fognini, who was last year's runner-up to Slovak Martin Klizan.
The 2013 St. Petersburg titlist will earn $78,000.