Top-seeded Fernando Verdasco scored a clean 6-4, 6-4 win over Dudi Sela of Israel on Monday to move into the third round of the US$708,000 New Haven Pilot Pen ATP hard-court tournament.
The 24-year-old Spanish southpaw, ranked No. 13 in the world, took command of the proceedings early and never looked back. Verdasco, a winner in Umag last month, is now scheduled to meet the winner of the match between Ivo Minar of the Czech Republic and Eduardo Schwank of Argentina.
US players went three for five on Monday. Robby Ginepri, Wayne Odesnik and John Isner all advanced into the second round, while Alex Bogomolov and US veteran Vincent Spadea were sent packing.
The 34-year-old Spadea was forced to retire because of a lower back strain after trailing 7-5, 5-0 to Belgium’s Steve Darcy.
Isner, who received a wild-card, humbled Igor Kunitsyn 6-4, 6-4 to set up a much anticipated second-round clash with second-seeded Ivo Karlovic of Croatia in a battle of the giants.
The 2.06m US player and the 2.08m Croat are the tallest players on the men’s professional circuit.
Teenage standout Juan Martin del Potro pulled out of the tournament on Monday, citing exhaustion.
The 19-year-old Argentine, who is ranked No. 19 in the world, capped a remarkable summer, clinching four straight ATP titles and winning his last 19 matches. He was replaced in the draw by US lucky-loser Jesse Levine.
“It was a difficult decision, but I want to recover in time for the US Open,” said the Argentine, who remains upbeat about his chances at the last Grand Slam event of the year, which starts on Monday in Flushing Meadows.
“I am playing with great confidence. It could not have come at a better time,” he said.
On the women’s side, seventh-seeded Frenchwoman Alizee Cornet clipped Nicole Vaidisova of the Czech Republic 6-3, 7-6 (10/8) in the marquee contest of the evening, Swiss veteran Patty Schnyder, the No. 5 seed, downed the US’ Jill Craybas 6-4, 7-6 (7/2) and Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark broke down the resistance of eight-seeded Slovakian Dominika Cibulkova, who retired after dropping the first set 7-6 (9/7) because of heat illness.
Aussie No. 1 Casey Dellacqua advanced as well, blasting past Virginie Razzano of France 6-3, 6-1. This is Dellacqua’s first tournament since her return from the Beijing Olympic Games, where she was knocked out of the women’s singles in the second round.
“I had an awful flight coming back,” the 44th-ranked Dellacqua said. “I ended up in Toronto.”
“It took me like more than 30 hours to get here. But being part of the Australian Olympic team was just amazing. I met so many athletes. It’s a memory I will embrace forever,” she said.