Wed, Jul 12, 2006 - Page 18 News List

Robredo, Ferrero advance after three sets in Sweden


Ivan Ljubicic of Croatia returns the ball to Albert Portas of Spain during their match at the Swiss Open in Gstaad, Switzerland, on Monday. Ljubicic won 6-3, 7-6.


Seeded Spaniards Tommy Robredo and Juan Carlos Ferrero were extended to three sets in their opening-round matches at the Swedish Open on Monday.

Second-seeded Robredo rallied to beat Gilles Simon of France 4-6, 6-1, 6-4; while eighth-seeded Ferrero defeated Swedish wild card Ervin Eleskovic 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.

Later, top-seeded Nikolay Davydenko of Russia beat Spain's Alberto Martin 6-4, 6-1.

Robredo has reached the semifinals at the clay-court Swedish Open three times. In May, he won the Hamburg Masters.

Ferrero, a former world No. 1, was up a set and 2-0. But the 579th-ranked, 19-year-old Eleskovic won six games to one to force a decider.

Eleskovic doubled-faulted three times when trailing 3-4 in the third set for Ferrero's break.

In other first-round matches, Robin Soderling of Sweden ousted Boris Pashanski of Serbia 6-2, 6-3; and Oliver Marach of Austria topped Filip Prpic of Sweden 6-3, 6-7 (2), 6-2.

Two-time French champion and defending Swedish Open champion Rafael Nadal withdrew from the tournament last week. The No. 2-ranked Spaniard, who lost Sunday's Wimbledon final to Roger Federer, has won a record 60 matches on clay.

Top-seeded Ivan Ljubicic made a comfortable switch from grass to clay in beating Spanish veteran Albert Portas 6-3, 7-6 (5) in his Swiss Open first-round match on Monday.

Coming off his best run at Wimbledon -- three rounds -- Ljubicic was satisfied with the ease of his return to clay. He broke Portas at 4-3 in the first set, and made 10 aces.

"Roland Garros was not a while ago, it was just a few weeks back, and I still have the [clay-court] game," he said.

"I reached the semifinals at the French Open so it's given me huge confidence, and I feel really comfortable on this surface," he said.

Next up for the world No. 4 was 341st-ranked Marco Chiudinelli of Switzerland, who defeated Davide Sanguinetti of Italy 6-3, 6-2, winning the last five games.

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