at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
HALLE, Germany – Philipp Kohlschreiber began the defence of his Gerry Weber Open title with a win over wild card Dustin Brown in an all-German matchup on Monday.
The 163rd-ranked Brown twice pushed Kohlschreiber to a tiebreak, before the eighth-seeded defending champion won 7-6 (4), 7-6 (4) in 1 hour, 23 minutes.
Canada's Milos Raonic, the other seeded player playing on the opening day of the grass-court tournament, defeated last year's beaten finalist, Philipp Petzschner.
Fifth-seeded Raonic served 19 aces to beat the German 7-5, 7-6
(1), setting up a second round clash with Ze Zhang of China, who overcame another German, Tobias Kamke, 6-4, 7-6 (2).
The 28-year-old Kohlschreiber will face Lukas Kubot after the Pole beat Jarkko Nieminen of Finland 6-4, 6-4.
Kohlschreiber was relieved to see off Brown's challenge - Brown served two aces in succession to take the second set to the tiebreaker - and admitted that nerves had played a role.
“Then I struck the ball very well and I can also be happy with my return,” Kohlschreiber said.
There were wins too for Mikhail Youzhny of Russia, who beat Dutchman Robin Haase 6-3, 6-2, and Germany's Cedrik-Marcel Stebe, who defeated Argentina's Carlos Berlocq 6-3, 3-6, 7-5.
Rafael Nadal, who won his record seventh French Open title earlier Monday, and five-time winner Roger Federer both have byes to the second round. – Sapa-AP