Montpellier, France (Sports Network) - Former champion Gael Monfils and his eighth-seeded fellow Frenchman Benoit Paire were easy first-round winners Tuesday at the Open Sud de France tennis event.
The former top-10 star Monfils handled Belgian Ruben Bemelmans 7-5, 6-4, while Paire dismantled Spanish qualifier Adrian Menendez-Maceiras 6-0, 6-2 on Day 1 on the indoor hardcourts at Montpellier's Park & Suites Arena.
Monfils was last year's runner-up to Tomas Berdych at this event, titled here in 2010, and was also a runner-up in 2005, when the tournament was held in Lyon.
The oft-injured Monfils' second-round opponent will be his third-seeded fellow countryman Richard Gasquet, who captured this event in 2006 in Lyon.
Also on Tuesday, Romanian Victor Hanescu handled Spanish qualifier Guillermo Olaso 6-1, 7-6 (8-6); Belgian Steve Darcis topped French wild card Adrian Mannarino 6-4, 7-6 (7-0); Czech Jan Hajek overcame Israeli Dudi Sela 2-6, 7-5, 6-1; and Finnish veteran Jarkko Nieminen drubbed French qualifier Florent Serra 6-3, 6-2.
This week's top seed, Czech star Tomas Berdych, pulled out of the draw on Monday, leaving second-seeded Janko Tipsarevic as the highest-standing seed here.
Berdych captured this event last year by beating Monfils in the final.