Wed, Jul 30, 2008 - Page 19 News List

Robredo fries Fish at Cincinnati opener

ELIMINATED In an all-Russian evening match, Dmitry Tursunov beat Marat Safin, who disputed numerous calls and threw his racket in disgust near the umpire’s chair

AP , MASON, OHIO

Thomas Robredo of Spain hits a forehand during a match against Mardy Fish on Monday at the Western & Southern Financial Group Masters tennis tournament in Mason, Ohio.

PHOTO: AP

Twelfth-seeded Tommy Robredo, a winner two weeks ago on clay, picked up his hard-court game on Monday and beat nemesis Mardy Fish 6-2, 6-2 in the opening match of the Cincinnati Masters.

Robredo is 3-3 against Fish, including a loss in their previous meeting at the Australian Open in January.

“He destroyed me in three sets,” Robredo said. “So I had to be very focused from the beginning, and I think I did it.”

The US$2.6 million ATP Western & Southern Financial Group Masters is being played at the Lindner Family Tennis Center north of Cincinnati. Defending champion Roger Federer, Wimbledon and French Open champion Rafael Nadal and the rest of the top eight seeded players all had first-round byes.

No. 16 seed Ivo Karlovic beat Thomaz Bellucci 6-3, 6-4, but the other two seeded players in action on Monday were eliminated.

Tommy Haas beat No. 14 Mikhail Youzhny 7-6 (2), 2-6, 6-4, and Tomas Berdych knocked off No. 13 Fernando Gonzalez of Chile, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.

Federer was scheduled to play yesterday against Robby Ginepri, who advanced by beating Jonas Bjorkman 6-0, 7-6 (5).

“We played here a couple years ago and I actually took a set off him, so I know I can fare up pretty well against him,” Ginepri said of Federer.

“It’s going to be a difficult match, obviously. I’ll have to serve extremely well and be patient out there and try to attack his backhand when I can,” the American said.

In an all-Russian evening match, Dmitry Tursunov beat Marat Safin 7-6 (5), 6-4. Safin disputed numerous calls, had several long talks with the umpire and threw his racket in disgust near the base of the umpire’s chair after going down 5-4 in the final set, a service break that also seemed to break his spirit.

In other matches, Ernests Gulbis beat Jarkko Nieminen 7-6 (7), 6-2; Robin Soderling defeated Julien Benneteau of France 6-0, 6-3; Andreas Seppi eliminated Feliciano Lopez 7-5, 7-5; Philipp Kohlschreiber ousted Michael Yani 6-3, 6-4; and Sam Querrey beat Paul-Henri Mathieu 6-4, 4-6, 6-3.

Robredo was 4-6 in matches in the first three months of the year, but is 24-9 since then.

“When clay courts started, I was playing a lot better and getting my confidence back,” Robredo said.

“Hopefully, now I can get the same level as I did on clay at the last part of the clay season and bring back here new great results,” he said.

Robredo won the clay court tournament at Bastad, Sweden, two weeks ago, beating Berdych in straight sets.

He was knocked out of the hard court Masters Series tournament in Toronto last week in the second round by Marin Cilic.

Everything went his way on Monday.

“At the beginning of the year, I was feeling pretty bad inside the court every time I was playing. I had to fight against myself and not against the opponent,” he said. “Now I’m fighting against the opponent again, which is great.”

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