Sports

Rusty Gael Monfils rallies past Kuznetsov to reach 2nd round at Monte Carlo Masters

  • Juan Monaco of Argentina plays a return to Jiry Vesely of Czech Republic during their match of the Monte Carlo Tennis Masters tournament in Monaco, Tuesday, April 14, 2015. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)

    Juan Monaco of Argentina plays a return to Jiry Vesely of Czech Republic during their match of the Monte Carlo Tennis Masters tournament in Monaco, Tuesday, April 14, 2015. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)  (The Associated Press)

  • Juan Monaco of Argentina serves the ball to Jiry Vesely of Czech Republic during their match of the Monte Carlo Tennis Masters tournament in Monaco, Tuesday, April 14, 2015. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)

    Juan Monaco of Argentina serves the ball to Jiry Vesely of Czech Republic during their match of the Monte Carlo Tennis Masters tournament in Monaco, Tuesday, April 14, 2015. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)  (The Associated Press)

  • View of the central court of the Monte Carlo Tennis Masters tournament in Monaco, Tuesday, April 14, 2015. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)

    View of the central court of the Monte Carlo Tennis Masters tournament in Monaco, Tuesday, April 14, 2015. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)  (The Associated Press)

Gael Monfils overcame a shaky start to rally past Russian qualifier Andrey Kuznetsov 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the first round of the Monte Carlo Masters on Tuesday.

The 14th-seeded Frenchman, who recently returned to the tour after a knee injury, struggled with his serve early before finding his range.

Monfils was up a break in the opener but lost 12 of the last 14 points as Kuznetsov took control. But the Russian could not build on the momentum, dropping his serve twice in the second set.

Serving for the match at 5-4, Monfils hit two big serves to fend off break points and closed out the match.

Wild-card entry Lucas Pouille also advanced and will next face eight-time champion Rafael Nadal.