Tennis-Monfils downs Berdych in Paris first-round thriller

PARIS Mon May 27, 2013 7:46pm BST

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PARIS May 27 (Reuters) - Gael Monfils, whose career has recently been hampered by injuries, returned to the French Open with a bang on Monday to beat Czech fifth seed Tomas Berdych in a first-round marathon.

Monfils, the world number 81, prevailed 7-6 6-4 6-7 6-7 7-5 in front of an ecstatic Court Philippe Chatrier crowd after four hours three minutes.

The Frenchman, who reached the semi-finals at Roland Garros in 2008 and missed last year's event because of a knee injury, wrapped up the match with his fourth match point when Berdych sent a backhand long.

He will next face Latvia's Ernests Gulbis.

(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by XXXX)

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