Stockholm - Tommy Haas led a German sweep on Monday at the Stockholm Open, following the winning example set by Philipp Petzschner at the first of the European autumn ATP indoor events.
Wild card Haas played his first match since the US Open third round as he beat India's Somdev Devvarman 7-6 (7-4), 6-4. Petzschner advanced over Lukasz Kubot of Poland 6-2, 7-5 in opening-day play at the Kungligahallen.
Frenchman Gael Monfils leads the 32-man field in his Stockholm debut, with Argentine Juan Del Potro beginning his buildup for the December 2-4 Davis Cup final with Spain in Seville.
The Argentine has only one previous Stockholm appearance, a loss in the first round in a match which he had to quit injured in 2007.
"I'm hopefully getting close to my level," said Del Potro, his ranking back up to 15th after missing eight months of 2010 with a wrist operation.
"I'm almost Top 10 again," he said before taking to the doubles court with Marcos Baghdatis. "I need a few more events to find my rhythm. I'm ready to start the indoor season."
Haas is also making a comeback after his 2010 hip surgery which kept him away until a tentative comeback last May.
The 33-year-old Florida-based German's victory in Stockholm was only his fifth of the season, but Haas is taking confidence from his opening performance.
"I'm very happy with how I played overall. This comeback is very important to me," said the 2004 and 2007 Stockholm semi-finalist who is playing the event for the sixth time. "I haven't played since New York so I was thinking a bit out there and second-guessing myself.
"Winning in straight sets is a good sign. I was glad to be up a break in the second set, and after losing it breaking again and serving out the match."
Haas ended with 37 winners and seven aces against world No 84 Devvarman, February's Johannesburg finalist against South Africa's Kevin Anderson.
Haas took the opening set in a tiebreak and went up a break in the second before losing that advantage in the eighth game.
But the experienced German broke straight back and a game later served out the victory. He will play the winner from fifth seed Anderson and Spain's Guillermo Garcia-Lopez.
"The second round is only gonna get tougher," said Haas. "But I'm happy to get another challenge and I'm looking forward to the next few weeks.
"I'm a little older but I'm eager to play. It's getting tougher because the body doesn't allow me to do everything that I want to.
"But I like to compete and hope to play as much as I can."