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Davydenko, Verdasco boost London hopes with Paris wins

Nikolay Dadvydenko is in pole position to qualify for the season-ending ATP event for the second year in a row.
Nikolay Dadvydenko is in pole position to qualify for the season-ending ATP event for the second year in a row.
  • Nikolay Daydenko boosts chances of qualifying for ATP World Tour Finals in London
  • Sixth seed beats German Benjamin Becker 6-2 6-1 in the second round at the Paris Masters
  • Russian, who had opening bye, leads the race for one of the two remaining places
  • Seventh seed Fernando Verdasco, in line for the eighth and final spot, also won his opener

(CNN) -- Nikolay Daydenko boosted his chances of qualifying for the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals in London with victory in his opening match at the Paris Masters on Tuesday.

The sixth seed, who had a bye in the opening round, crushed Benjamin Becker 6-2 6-1 in the day's opening match at the indoor tournament.

The Russian won 71 percent of service points as he romped to victory in 79 minutes, avenging last year's defeat to the unseeded German at Wimbledon in their only other meeting.

Davydenko remained ahead of Fernando Verdasco in the race to secure the two remaining places for the eight-man showpiece event later this month.

The Spanish seventh seed also won his second-round match on Court Central, coming from behind to beat Italy's Andreas Seppi 6-7 (3-7) 6-4 6-4.

The 28-year-old Davydenko, who won the Paris title in 2006, will next play either big-serving Croatian Ivo Karlovic or fellow London hopeful, ninth-seeded Swede Robin Soderling.

"It was the same for me last year and the year before," Davydenko, who qualified for 2008's season-ending event in Shanghai, told the ATP Tour Web site.

"Four guys need to win this tournament [to qualify]. If somebody reached the final, it's not enough. It is not so easy for Tsonga or Soderling to reach the final and win the tournament."

Verdasco will take on Croatian 12th seed Marin Cilic -- whose qualificaition hopes he has now ended along with those of 12th-placed Radek Stepanek -- or Polish qualifier Lukasz Kubot.

"I know that I need to win all the matches I can to qualify for myself, not wait for the other players, how they do," Verdasco said.

"It was my big challenge for this year, and this week is the last week. After this, everything is going to be decided. So I'm giving my best in the last chance, the last week to try to do it."

Defending champion Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who is 11th in the standings, beat unseeded Spaniard Albert Montanes 6-1 7-5 in his opening match on Tuesday evening.

The Frenchman will play the winner of Tuesday's final match between 11th-seeded compatriot Gilles Simon and Croatia's Ivan Ljubicic.

It is not so easy for Tsonga or Soderling to reach the final and win the tournament
--Nikolay Davydenko

In first-round matches, Nicolas Almagro defeated unseeded Swiss Marco Chiudinelli 6-2 6-4 to set up a clash with fellow Spaniard Rafael Nadal on Wednesday.

World No. 2 Nadal will return to the capital for the first time since his fourth-round defeat by Soderling at the French Open in May.

French qualifier David Guez earned a matchup with 15th-seeded compatriot Gael Monfils after upsetting Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland 6-3 6-4.

Unseeded Argentine Juan Monaco will next take on world No. 3 Novak Djokovic following his 7-6 (8-6) 7-5 victory over Frenchman Jeremy Chardy.

Djokovic comes into the tournament on the back of his stunning victory over world No. 1 Roger Federer in the final of the Swiss Indoors event in Basel on Sunday.

Top seed Federer will face unseeded Julien Benneteau in his opening match after the Frenchman defeated Germany's Philipp Petzschner 4-6 7-5 6-3.

Benneteau's compatriot Arnaud Clement also progressed into the second round with a 6-3 6-1 win over unseeded Spaniard Feliciano Lopez.

Clement will take on 16th-seeded German Tommy Haas, who has recovered from a bout of swine flu.