MONTE CARLO, Apr 19 (Reuters) Monte Carlo Open specialist Guillermo Coria fought back from 5-1 down in the second set to beat Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu 1-6 7-6 6-4 in a second round thriller today.
The Argentine baseliner has played in the last three finals in the principality and won the Masters Series tournament two years ago.
He struggled in a surprisingly one-sided first set and then lost the first four games of the second set. Mathieu served for the match three times but was broken each time by his opponent.
Coria, the 2004 French Open runner-up, survived four match points before taking the second set 8-6 in a tie break.
The combative Argentine stayed on top in the decisive set to edge past Mathieu, who had knocked out former world number one Marat Safin in the first round.
Another Argentine, third seed David Nalbandian, was also made to work before moving past Italian Andreas Seppi, coming back from 5-2 down in the first set to win 7-5 7-5.
Spain's Juan Carlos Ferrero, who won here in 2002 and 2003, advanced with a 6-1 6-2 demolition of Argentine Juan Ignacio Chela.
World number one Roger Federer faces an interesting test against Spanish claycourt specialist Alberto Martin later on Wednesday.
REUTERS AY KN2016