HOUSTON – Gael Monfils of France had 15 aces and beat John Blake of the United States 7-6 (5), 7-5 in the first round of the U.S. Men's Clay Court Championships on Monday night.
Blake, once ranked No. 4, played his 51st match at River Oaks Country Club where he is a crowd favorite but Monfils won cheers for his hustle playing his first match in the city.
Monfils, who played in only 10 tournaments last year because of a knee injury, matched the sixth-highest total of aces in the tournament. He will next face top-seeded Nicolas Almagro of Spain.
Monfils broke Blake in the 11th game of the second set on three straight errors by Blake and wrapped it up quickly with a love final game that included two aces.