Gasquet beats Spadea in Nottingham

Updated: June 18, 2007, 2:14 PM ET
Associated Press

NOTTINGHAM, England -- Richard Gasquet began defense of his Nottingham Open title Monday by beating Vincent Spadea 6-3, 6-4.

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The top-seeded Frenchman, who celebrated his 21st birthday Monday, is seeking a third consecutive title at Nottingham, a grass-court warmup for Wimbledon.

Gasquet fought back after dropping his serve early in the first set and was rarely troubled afterward in moving to the second round.

"Spadea is never easy to play against," Gasquet said. "I am really happy to get my first win here, especially with it being my birthday. It is a special day for me.

"I wasn't confident because I played badly last week. I had to play a great match to win. It is not easy to play against him and it's nice for me to win again here. I like the court and the atmosphere."

Gasquet lost in the first round of the grass-court tournament in Halle, Germany, last Tuesday.

Also in the first round, Sebastien Grosjean of France beat fifth-seeded Dominik Hrbaty 6-3, 6-4, and Gilles Simon of France defeated Andrei Pavel of Romania 6-2, 4-6, 6-4.

Rain suspended play later in the day with Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain leading Alex Bogdanovic of Britain 6-4, 0-1.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press