Thu, May 15, 2008 - Page 18 News List

Andreas Seppi sends Gasquet packing

RICHARD ROUTED While the world No. 9 tumbled out of the tournament, fellow top 10 players Nikolay Davydenko and David Ferrer had few problems in their Hamburg matches

AFP , HAMBURG, GERMANY

Tommy Robredo clenches his fist after winning a point during his first round match against Philipp Kohlschreiber at the ATP Masters Series tennis tournament in Hamburg, Germany, on Tuesday. Robredo won the match 2-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-3.

PHOTO: AP

Out-of-form French No. 1 Richard Gasquet admits Roland Garros may come too soon for him after he was the biggest casualty of the Hamburg Masters Series on Tuesday.

Having been runner-up in 2005, Gasquet’s poor run this year continued as the world No. 9 made a second round exit at the hands of Italy’s Andreas Seppi, going down 6-3, 6-2 in just 71 minutes.

The Frenchman, seeded eighth, became the only seed to fall on Tuesday.

“I am really disappointed, I wasn’t in the game and I didn’t play at all well,” said a glum Gasquet with Roland Garros set to start in less than a fortnight.

“I am not confident at all for Roland Garros, but you can never say never, I will try to do my best there, of course,” he said. “I am not carrying any injuries, but I am just so tired.”

“This year is totally different to 2005, then I was playing well, I was confident and I did well at Monte Carlo before I came here. Now I just need to get some rest and try to recover,” Gasquet said.

Neither the fourth-seed Nikolay Davydenko nor fifth-seed David Ferrer wasted any time booking their places in the third round after comfortable wins.

Ferrer had few problems as the Spaniard claimed a routine victory with a 6-3, 6-3 win in just 76 minutes against Ivo Minar from the Czech Republic.

Davydenko, who by his own admission is never comfortable on clay, took slightly longer but still needed only 85 minutes to secure his 6-4, 6-1 win over Ivan Ljubicic from Croatia.

Davydenko is bidding to repeat March’s Masters Series win in Miami when he beat world No. 2 Rafael Nadal in the final and enjoyed his first victory over Ljubicic since 2004 in Monte Carlo.

“It’s always difficult to play your first match of a tournament, it doesn’t matter how confident you feel,” said Davydenko, who is ranked fourth in the world.

“I didn’t play well in Rome last week when I lost to Tommy Robredo [in the third round] and I want to do well here in preparation for Roland Garros,” he said.

Earlier, Spain’s Carlos Moya reached the second round with a hard-fought three set win over France’s Julien Benneteau.

Eleventh-seed Moya, who won his only Grand Slam title at Roland Garros in 1998, said he was pleased to get a win under his belt after struggling recently.

Despite losing the first set he went on to claim a 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (9/7) victory.

“The last couple of tournaments have been tough for me,” Moya said. “Every match had felt like torture for me, so although the first set didn’t go well, I came back into it and had a good win.”

And compatriot Fernando Verdasco booked his place in the third round with a straight sets win over France’s Michael Llodra 6-2, 6-0.

Germany’s No. 1 Philipp Kohlschreiber fell by the wayside when he lost to Spain’s Tommy Robredo 2-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-3 despite breaking the 13th seed twice on his way to taking the first set.

But after losing the second set tie-breaker, Kohlschreiber had few answers as Robredo served out the third set.

■ AZARENKA WINS

AP, ROME

Unseeded teenager Victoria Azarenka routed 19th-seeded Sybille Bammer 6-1, 6-3 in the first round of the Italian Open on Tuesday before play was suspended due to rain.

The highly touted Azarenka continued her strong form from the last two weeks, when she lost to eventual champion Dinara Safina at the German Open and posted a runner-up finish at the Prague Open.

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