Haase hits stride in opening Bangkok tennis win

Bangkok: Drawcards Andy Murray and Gael Monfils arrived in Bangkok from Europe on Monday as the Thailand Open got under way with a victory for Dutchman Robin Haase over a plucky local wildcard.

Top-seed Murray and number two Monfils have first-round byes on the hard courts at the Impact Arena in the Thai capital.

World number four Murray, the losing finalist to Roger Federer seven years ago, will be starting little more than a week after leading Britain to victory in the Davis Cup. He has complained bitterly about the busy schedule.

Monfils will test the knee injury which kept him from Davis Cup duties as France went down to Spain in the World Group semi-final.

Haase made a successful debut in Thailand with a 6-3, 7-6 (7-1) defeat of Kittiphong Wachiramanowong.

The Thai, ranked a lowly 523 in the world, has yet to win any of his three Thailand Open appearances but put up a brave fight in the second set before succumbing to Haase`s superior class and experience.

"When I was a break up in the second set I thought it was looking like an easy win," said Haase, the world-ranked 42 who won his first career title in August on clay in Kitzbuehel, Austria.

"I was playing better than in the first set. On the big points and the break points especially I was doing well. But he also played better when he was down," he said.

"I knew I didn`t have to worry even if we got into a tiebreaker as I have so much more experience than him. I think that was a big advantage for me today."

Haase will next line up against 2010 losing finalist Jarkko Nieminen of Finland or wildcard Dominic Thiem of Austria.

Only four main draw matches were scheduled on the opening day, with Croatian fifth seed Ivan Dodig playing Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria, Italian Fabio Fognini facing Thai Danai Udomchoke and Dudi Sela of Israel taking on Colombian Santiago Giraldo.

Bureau Report

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