Top-seeded James Blake and second-seeded Mardy Fish tumbled out of the first round of the US$500,000 US Men’s Clay Court Championship on Tuesday.
Guillermo Canas of Argentina, ranked 113th in the world, ousted Blake 6-4, 6-4, while Germany’s Bjorn Phau, ranked 77th, defeated Fish 6-3, 5-7, 6-3.
Canas led 5-4 in the second when Blake tried to make a stand, but the American failed to convert four break chances.
“This year has been a tough start,” said Canas, who hopes the victory can be a springboard to better things in a so-far disappointing year. “I haven’t played well for the past two months. Now, for me, I hope to continue on with the tournament.”
Blake said he made too many errors on too many important points.
“He kind of forces you into that the way he plays defense,” Blake said. “It’s no excuse for some errors, especially the ones I made at key times. If you expect to win matches you have to put that around big points.”
Phau had notched the first big upset of the tournament by ousting 2006 champion Fish, converting two of his four break points in the third set to finish off Fish in two hours.
Lleyton Hewitt of Australia, needed just 62 minutes to beat Argentina’s Diego Junqueira 6-0, 6-2.
AP, PONTE VEDRA BEACH,FLORIDA
Top-seeded Nadia Petrova breezed through her first round match with a 6-2, 6-4 win over Olga Govortsova of Belarus at the MPS Group Championships on Tuesday.
Petrova was ahead 4-2 in the second set, with wind gusting to 48kph, when Govortsova broke and held to tie it at 4-4.
Petrova took a 5-4 lead in a game with five deuces. She added one of her four aces in the final game.
Second-seed Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark held off Australia’s Samantha Stosur 6-3, 6-7(4), 6-1, and Bethanie Mattek-Sands beat 13th-ranked Marion Bartoli of France, 5-7, 7-6(4), 6-3.
Wozniacki said she went on the defensive in the second set which let Stosur back in the match. She found her game again in the third.
Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia fought off three match points to beat Latvia’s Anastasija Sevastova 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (5).
Other winners on Tuesday were fifth-seeded Canadian Aleksandra Wozniak, Anastasia Rodionova of Russia, Tamira Paszek of Austria and German Sabine Lisicki.
Fourth-seeded Patty Schnyder of Switzerland and sixth-seeded Peng Shuai of China also lost. Schnyder was beaten by Varvara Lepchenko of the US 6-2, 6-0 and Peng lost to Elena Vesnina of Russia 2-6, 6-1, 6-3.