It was a short in for the local Stanford University product, Bradley Klahn, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't be excited for him going forward. In only his second professional match, he drew Gael Monfils, ranked number twelve in the world. The Frenchman might just be the hardest guy inside the top fifteen to take on at such an early stage in one's career due to his intense athleticism and power. Everyone in that top fifteen can make the shots they need to, but few can do them with as much power and explosiveness of Monfils.
The Stanford crowd was out in full force and they were certainly rowdy. They seemed to get on Monfils' nerves at first, but it was clear he was enjoying himself after a few games. He kept looking back at them, at times "shushing" them. Klahn looked as though he'd keep it close from the beginning, holding serve in his first service game, but Monfils proved to be too much too fast.
Monfils eventually took the first set 6-3, and then worked to 4-0 in the second set before Klahn showed some more life, but the set and match ended at with 6-2 on a brutal ace from Monfils. To sum up the entirety of the match, one only had to look to the final serve of the match, a blistering 137 MPH ace that put Klahn away. It was a display of power and technique from the world number twelve.
Bradley was in good spirits regardless, having this to say when asked about playing someone like Gael Monfils this early in his professional career, "It was incredible, far and away the best player I've ever played." There was a lot of positive things to take from his performance, including some incredible forehands down the line that would put away a lot of mid-level competition and give any of the top guys trouble, but the night was for Gael.
Monfils expressed his admiration for the Bay Area and smiled as he apologized to the very pro-Klahn crowd, who gave him a round of applause. Joking at one point during his interview that he didn't remember "that swiss guy" he beat (Roger Federer, current number two in the world and perhaps the consensus best men's tennis player of all time), it was clear the jeering during the match didn't really get to him.
The tournament's number one seed, Fernando Verdasco, got started the right way with a win over Rajeev Ram. He's the defending champion, taking home the SAP Open crown last year, and is ranked ninth in the world.Verdasco took his match in much the same way as Monfils, winning 6-3 and 6-2.
Verdasco will be looking ahead to take on Ivo Karlovic, a man who holds a 2-1 edge over Verdasco in their three previous matchups. The hard-serving Croatian defeated Ryan Sweeting in two sets, a calm and collected 6-4, 6-4 performance. Monfils' upcoming opponent will be Robert Kendrick, who had more of a difficult time advancing from his first-round match, winning in three sets over Igor Kunitsyn, with a 7-5, 3-6 and 6-5 performance.