PARIS - Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov continued his rich vein of form on Tuesday as he marched into the second round of the Paris Masters with a three-set win over Frenchman Michael Llodra. The lanky 22-year-old lost the opening set in a tie-break before taking control and setting up a meeting against Italian 16th seed Fabio Fognini with a 6-7 (5/7), 6-3, 6-3 victory.
The highly touted Dimitrov picked up his first ATP win last weekend when he triumphed in Stockholm and continues to impress since taking on Leyton Hewitt's former coach Roger Rasheed. Llodra meanwhile, who is a two-time semi-finalist at Bercy, became the fifth Frenchman to be eliminated in two days of action. "The difference was when I started missing my first serves. I've really had difficulties serving really hard lately, so if my first serve isn't perfect, then he returns well and it's tough for me," explained a dejected Llodra. "He's very good in passing and he's extremely fast. He's extremely serious in training and I believe we'll see him soon go to the top." continued Llodra.
The home record was finally improved by Nicolas Mahut who fired down eight aces to subdue Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov 7-6 (8/6), 6-1. Mahut, who played the longest match in history against American John Isner at Wimbledon 2010, won 93 per cent of his first serve points and broke the spirit of his opponent in the crucial opening set tie-break.
The 1.90m (6ft 3in), 25-year-old never dropped his serve while breaking his opponent three times in a one-sided finale to the match. He can now look forward to playing 15th seeded compatriot Gilles Simon in an all-French second round tie, a player he met recently. "Well, we played each other three weeks ago and I lost in straight sets," said Mahut.
Croatian Ivan Dodig scraped past Frenchman Edouard Roger-Vasselin in a scrappy 7-6 (8/6), 6-4 victory as he moves on to oppose Spaniard Nicolas Almagro in the second round.  The big serving 25-year-old rained down 20 aces on his French debutant but nine double faults made life difficult before he eventually sealed only his second career win at Bercy.
Earlier, Poland's Michal Przysiezny broke his duck against veteran Jarkko Nieminen by defeating the Finn for the first time in four meetings 6-3, 7-6 (8/6). The 29-year-old, who came into the week ranked 65 in the world will now face American 13th seed Isner for a place in the last-16.  Spaniard Pablo Andujar took full advantage of an injury suffered by Gael Monfils on the eve of his first round match against Canadian Davis Cup semi-finalist Vasek Pospisil. The 'lucky loser' led all the way as he stepped in to face the world number 32 and while he needed five match points to close out the match, he got the job done 6-4, 2-6, 6-4. Instead of heading back home, he can now relish the prospect of a high profile second round tie against Czech sixth seed Thomas Berdych. World number two Novak Djokovic makes his bow in the final match of the evening on Tuesday when he takes on French qualifier Pierre-Hugues Herbert. On Monday, Croatia's Marin Cilic marked his return from a doping ban with a first round victory and expressed his delight at being back on court. His hard fought three set victory over Dutchman Igor Sijsling was the perfect tonic following a difficult time for the former Grand Slam semi-finalist. After dropping a tense opening set, Cilic bounced back to set up a matchup against world number five Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina with a 5-7, 6-1, 6-4 victory. "I felt like a kid playing tennis for the first time," said an exuberant Cilic. "And I would say the feeling was amazing just to be back on the court, to be competing, and I enjoyed every moment.”
The Croatian admitted it had been a nightmare. "Yeah, I would definitely say it was the worst time of my life to experience this as a player. I have been on the tour for six, seven years, and have been always really careful and really honest and fair as much as I could with all the other players. And then to be in that kind of situation where when I found out about the positive test, and then also the media started to write and it was extremely difficult situations where people were even calling me a doping player and a cheater.”
 I knew I didn't cheat, and the most important, I haven't taken anybody's prize money and I haven't beat anybody in that tournament."
Also on Monday, in a programme which featured only unseeded players, Spaniard Feliciano Lopez edged a fiercely contested match against Australian qualifier Bernard Tomic 6-4, 6-7 (4/7), 7-6 (7/1). Lopez will meet Stanislas Wawrinka with the Swiss seventh seed looking to wrap up his first ever appearance at the London Masters with a good run this week.
Elsewhere, on a disappointing day for French players Jeremy Chardy, Adrian Mannarino and Julien Benneteau were all eliminated. Chardy, who began the season with a run to the Australian Open quarter-finals, was well beaten 6-3, 6-4 by Czech Lukas Rosol, while Mannarino suffered a tough three set defeat against Colombian Santiago Giraldo 6-3, 2-6, 6-4. Benneteau ran into an in-form Kei Nishikori and won only six games during a 6-4, 6-2 defeat against the Japanese world number 18. Nishikori will play French number one Tsonga on Tuesday for a place in the last-16.