Malisse advances at SAP Open

Xavier Malisse smashed 18 aces in a 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 victory over Japan’s Go Soeda in the first round of the SAP Open on Monday.

”It was tough,” Malisse said. ”His ball stayed low and he hits a good backhand. I served my way out of it a couple of times and that really helped, especially in the first set. There were a couple of mistakes that I have to adjust, but besides that I’m pretty happy.”

Malisse, the eighth seed from Belgium, said he was a little rusty in his first tournament since the Australian Open, where he reached the Round of 64. His serve was working, though, with nine aces in the first set. He even recorded a handful with his second serve.

”No matter how many years you play, you have to get that match rhythm,” Malisse said. ”I have some time to practice a little bit. I wanted to win in the first round and that’s accomplished.”

Malisse is looking for his first title in six years.

Soeda won the Hawaii Challenger in January and played in his sixth tournament.

Canada’s Jesse Levine beat American Bradley Klahn, 7-5, 6-2, in the final match.

Klahn lost to Levine in three sets last week in Dallas.