STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AP) _ American Jan-Michael Gambill and Germany's Jens Knippschild won early first-round matches as the Stockholm Open started Monday at the Royal Tennis Hall.

Playing before a sparse center court crowd, Knippschild beat former top 10 player Magnus Larsson of Sweden 6-4, 6-4 to begin the week-long tournament. Gambill won 6-2, 6-3 against Arnaud Di Pasquale of France.

Afterward, the injury-prone Larsson said he will skip tournaments in Australia in January, including the Australian Open, to work himself back into shape in the United States early next year.

``I'm not as strong as I used to be, but I'm going to work hard to come back,'' Larsson said. ``I will play no tournaments, just practice hard.''

Larsson's coach, Carl-Axel Hageskog, who also is the captain of the once powerful Swedish Davis Cup team, will travel with Larsson to the United States.

Larsson's back injury forced him to default a match in Stuttgart, Germany, two weeks ago. And last week the tall Swede withdrew from the Paris Open because of a neck injury.

Gambill, 22, who has won one ATP Tour title, is one of only two Americans in the main singles draw this year. Michael Chang is the other American entry.

Americans have dominated the tournament, which is the oldest ATP Tour indoor event in the world, winning 12 singles titles. But only one American _ Todd Martin last year _ has won since John McEnroe's fourth triumph in 1985.