Monfils wins Montpellier opener

Montpellier, France ( - Former champion Gael Monfils was among Wednesday's first-round winners at the Open Sud de France tennis event.

The fifth-seeded French crowd favorite struck 11 aces in getting past Poland's Lukasz Kubot 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 in just under two hours on the indoor hardcourts at Arena Montpellier.

The former top-10 star Monfils captured this tournament in 2010 and was the runner-up in 2005, in Lyon, and 2012.

Sixth-seeded Finnish veteran Jarkko Nieminen advanced by getting past Kazakhstan's Aleksandr Nedovyesov 4-6, 6-2, 4-4, retired, while seventh-seeded Frenchman Edouard Roger-Vasselin dismissed Pole Michal Przysiezny 7-6 (7-3), 6-3, and one-time world No. 3 Nikolay Davydenko of Russia drove out eighth- seeded Frenchman Julien Benneteau 7-6 (8-6), 7-5 on Day 3. Benneteau was the runner-up at this event in Lyon in 2008.

Also on Wednesday, German Dustin Brown overcame Russian Teymuraz Gabashvili 4-6, 6-1, 7-6 (7-1) and Portuguese Joao Sousa came back to beat German Tobias Kamke 3-6, 6-1, 6-4.

This week's top-seven seeds will all be in action Thursday, including Richard Gasquet, Gilles Simon, Jerzy Janowicz and the No. 5 seed Monfils. Gasquet will take on fellow Frenchman and 2002 titlist Paul-Henri Mathieu; Simon will battle fellow Frenchman and two-time runner-up Marc Gicquel; Janowicz will encounter France's Adrian Mannarino; and Monfils will meet Sousa.

The reigning champion and two-time winner Gasquet beat Benoit Paire in last year's all-French finale here.

This week's titlist will collect $105,000.