Spain's Fernando Verdasco set up a meeting with world No. 2 Andy Murray at the 2016 BNP Paribas Masters after his first-round opponent, Robin Haase, retired with a hip injury while trailing 6-2, 3-2 on Monday.
The Scotsman is closing in on taking the world No. 1 spot from Novak Djokovic and faces a tough opponent in Verdasco as he starts his campaign to win a fourth tournament on the bounce.
In other first-round action in Paris on Monday, Pablo Carreno Busta made easy work of getting past Fabio Fognini to set up a clash with Milos Raonic, while Joao Sousa and Steve Johnson both claimed straight-sets victories also.
Here's a look at all of Monday's results:
|Steve Johnson bt. Guido Pella||6-4, 7-5|
|Pablo Carreno Busta bt. Fabio Fognini||6-3, 6-1|
|Joao Sousa bt. Andreas Seppi||6-4, 6-4|
|Fernando Verdasco bt. Robin Haase||6-2, 3-2 (ret.)|
|Marcos Baghdatis bt. Paul-Henri Mathieu||6-2, 6-4|
|Jan-Lennard Struff bt. Illya Marchenko||6-1, 6-1|
|Paolo Lorenzi bt. Benoit Paire||6-4, 7-6 (4)|
|Gilles Simon bt. Julien Benneteau||4-6, 6-3, 6-2|
|Albert Ramos-Vinolas bt. Stephane Robert||6-1, 6-4|
|ATP World Tour|
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Carreno Busta, 25, has enjoyed an excellent year in 2016, winning two ATP World titles, most recently triumphing at the Kremlin Cup earlier this month.
In the Moscow final, the Spaniard came back from a set down to beat Fognini, but he had a much easier time of things against the Italian on Monday, prevailing 6-3, 6-1.
The world No. 31 broke four times in the match while not giving up his own serve once and booked his place in the second round after just 52 minutes of action.
Per the tournament's Twitter feed, Carreno Busta also maintained his perfect record against Fognini:
Portugal's Sousa had to work somewhat harder to get through his first-round match against Andreas Seppi, but he eventually came through 6-4, 6-4 in 80 minutes.
Sousa's resilience was the key to his victory, as he saved all six of the break points Seppi earned, while he took two of the three he carved out for himself.
Verdasco was cruising when Haase pulled out of their clash, but the Dutchman produced one of the shots of the day before packing it in, per TennisTV:
For Johnson, it was his defence that pushed him through to the next round, as he, like Sousa, saved every break point he conceded on his serve.
Meanwhile, of the four he managed to earn on Guido Pella's serve, he took two of them—one in each set—to triumph 6-4, 7-5 and advance to the next round to face No. 12 seed Richard Gasquet.
One of the standout matches of the day came in an all-French showdown between Giles Simon and Julian Benneteau, with the former coming from behind to take victory.
After a testing first set, Simon gradually found his rhythm in the second, taking the match into a decider. At the start of the third stanza, he was doing everything to secure an early edge on the Benneteau serve, per Tennis TV:
Following that early break Simon took control. He never looked in danger of losing the match in the final set, eventually booking his spot in Round 2 with relative ease.
Meanwhile, the final clash of the day saw Albert Ramos-Vinolas secure a comfortable win over Stephane Robert, with the Spaniard dropping just five games in a professional performance.