Paire easily wins France opener

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Eighth-seeded Benoit Paire took just 45 minutes to beat Adrian Menendez-Maceiras of Spain 6-0, 6-2 in the Open Sud de France first round on Tuesday.

The Frenchman had nine aces and did not face a break point. He used his powerful forehand to often force Menendez-Maceiras to the back of the court and broke the Spaniard's serve five times.

Paire amused himself in the last game with a half-volley played through his legs, which he followed up with a caressed drop shot. He sealed victory on his third match point when Menendez-Maceiras swatted a forehand wide.

''It was short and fun. I'm very motivated here. I made a good start to the year, but didn't have much luck at the Australian Open because I came up against Roger (Federer) in the first round,'' Paire said. ''Indoors isn't necessarily my best service and maybe Menendez was a bit tired after his (qualifying) match yesterday, but I'm happy with my level. Steve Darcis is a very good player and I know it will be a very hard game.''

Paire next plays Darcis of Belgium, who beat Adrian Mannarino of France 6-4, 7-6 (0).

In other matches, ninth-seeded Paul-Henri Mathieu of France lost 6-4, 6-4 to Sergiy Stakhovsky of Ukraine, who next plays either Japan's Tatsuma Ito or Frenchman Edouard Roger-Vasselin. Former champion Gael Monfils beat Ruben Bemelmans of Belgium 7-5, 6-4 to set up a second-round contest against third-seeded countryman Richard Gasquet.

Monfils broke Bemelmans in the 11th game on his fourth break-point opportunity of the set for a 6-5 lead and then served out the set. He had 10 aces, saved three break points and broke Bemelmans once in each set.

There were also first-round wins Tuesday for Jarkko Nieminen of Finland, Jan Hajek of the Czech Republic, and Victor Hanescu of Romania.

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