Monfils eases into Indian Wells second round

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Indian Wells (United States) (AFP)

Unseeded Gael Monfils rolled to an easy 6-3, 6-3 victory over Aussie Matthew Ebden in his opening match at the ATP Indian Wells tournament on Friday.

The 31-year-old Frenchman needed just 71 minutes to dispatch Ebden in front of a crowd of about 3,000 at the centre court stadium.

Monfils began 2018 by claiming his seventh career ATP Title in Doha but this is the first time he has come into Indian Wells unseeded in the men's draw since 2008.

Monfils hammered six aces, won 68 percent of his first serve points and broke Ebden four times.

Monfils improved to 2-0 lifetime over Ebden having beaten him previously at the 2010 Australian Open.

Indian Wells marks the first time playing on the hard courts for Monfils since the Australian Open in January. He is coming off four straight weeks on the South American clay court circuit.

Ebden committed five double faults and won just 39 percent of his second serve points on Friday.

Ebden is playing in the Indian Wells main draw for the first time since 2014.

In other early men's matches on Friday, Portugal's Joao Sousa rallied to beat Mikhail Youzhny of Russia, 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7/4) and qualifier Marcos Baghdatis defeated Yoshihito Nishioka 7-5, 3-6, 7-5