Del Potro, Murray win Rotterdam openers
Rotterdam, The Netherlands (SportsNetwork.com) - Top seed and reigning champion Juan Martin del Potro defeated last week's Montpellier titlist Gael Monfils in a marquee opening-round affair on Wednesday, and former Rotterdam titlist Andy Murray landed in the round of 16 at the $1.85 million ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament.
The former U.S. Open champion del Potro handled the unseeded Frenchman Monfils in 7-6 (8-6), 6-3 fashion on the indoor hardcourts at Ahoy Rotterdam.
Del Potro beat another Frenchman, Julien Benneteau, in last year's finale and was the runner-up here in 2012.
Meanwhile, the second-seeded 2009 Rotterdam champ and reigning Wimbledon titlist Murray mauled Frenchman Edouard Roger-Vasselin 6-3, 6-3.
An upset came in the second round when hot Marin Cilic upended fifth-seeded Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-4, 6-4. Cilic is fresh off his title in Zagreb in his native Croatia last week. Tsonga was a runner-up here in Rotterdam in 2011.
Fourth-seeded Richard Gasquet snuck past Dutchman Thiemo de Bakker 6-7 (5-7), 7-6 (7-2), 6-3 and sixth-seeded German Tommy Haas overcame Spanish left-hander Fernando Verdasco 6-7 (4-7), 7-6 (7-1), 7-5 to reach the second round. Gasquet was last week's runner-up to his fellow Frenchman Monfils in Montpellier, while the 35-year-old Haas is fresh off his runner-up finish to Cilic in Zagreb.
In other opening-round action, Austrian qualifier Dominic Thiem outlasted Finn Jarkko Nieminen 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 and Frenchman Nicolas Mahut doused German Daniel Brands 7-5, 6-3.
In some more second-round action on Thursday, del Potro will meet French qualifier Paul-Henri Mathieu; the Scottish Murray will face Thiem; third- seeded Czech Tomas Berdych will battle Mahut; and Gasquet will be opposed by German Philipp Kohlschreiber.