PARIS, October 29- World number one Novak Djokovic celebrated his return to competition since becoming a father last week with a ruthless 6-3, 6-4 second round victory over Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber at the Paris Masters on Tuesday.
The 27-year-old defending champion showed the flashes of brilliance, that has seen him win seven Grand Slams, on the way to a third round meeting against either American 13th seed John Isner or French crowd-pleaser Gael Monfils.
The Serbian, whose wife Jelena gave birth to a baby boy Stefan on October 21 and is chasing a third title in Paris, secured early breaks in both sets to lay the foundations for his victory.
“It was very, very good because it’s not easy, the first match and being indoors, so I’m very happy,” said Djokovic.
“I still don’t quite feel 100 per cent physically and the court threw up a lot of high bounces but I played a quality match and was very concentrated.
“It’s incredible to be a father and I dedicate this victory to my wife Jelena and Stefan.
“I’m very proud to be a father and I’m very proud of my wife for handling the birth in a great way. She’s back home recovering now, with our little boy.
“This was my first match as a father and it can only inspire me to play my best tennis,” he added.
Tomas Berdych, who won his one and only Masters title at Bercy in 2005, had too much guile and experience for French wildcard Adrian Mannarino as he advanced in the last match of the day 6-4, 6-7 (3/7), 6-2.
The Czech fifth seed, who is well on course for the season ending ATP World Tour finals in London and a top ten finish for the fifth year in a row, will meet American qualifier Sam Querrey or Spaniard Feliciano Lopez in the last-32.
Earlier, Spanish veteran Tommy Robredo survived a scare before prevailing 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (7/5) over Canada’s Vasek Pospisil in a first round match.
Former world number five Robredo was evidently still feeling the effects of reaching the final of the Valencia Open on Sunday where he was beaten by Andy Murray in the longest final of the year.
Robredo, 32 and who has reached three finals this season but lost them all, plays Japanese sixth seed Kei Nishikori in the second round.
French hopes were badly dented when Shanghai Masters finalist and 15th seed Gilles Simon, crashed out in the second round against Spaniard Fernando Verdasco.
The world number 33 broke in the final game to outlast Simon 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 in 1hr 53min.
“It’s always the same, I didn’t control anything,” said a dejected Simon, who was making his ninth straight appearance at Bercy.
“It’s a pity, because physically I felt I was fit, I had energy and I could have played a lot.
“I’m extremely disappointed because I like this tournament and I felt I could do well here.” added Simon.
– Nail-biting –
The match came down to a nail-biting deciding set that went with serve until Verdasco went 5-4 up and Simon was serving to stay in the match.
The right-hander from Nice faced match point at 30-40 and after a marathon rally hit long as Verdasco claimed a morale-boosting victory and pounded his chest in celebration.
Verdasco will play either former champion and last year’s finalist David Ferrer or Belgian talent David Goffin.
The 23-year-old Goffin, who lost the Basel Open final in straight sets against Roger Federer on Sunday but has two ATP wins this season, overpowered Czech Republic world number 29 Lukas Rosol 6-4, 6-3.
Federer gets his campaign underway on Wednesday against Frenchman Jeremy Chardy.
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