Eighth-seeded Marat Safin of Russia beat Robby Ginepri of the US, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the first round of the LA Tennis Open on Tuesday.
The win was the former No. 1’s first in three meetings with Ginepri, who won the tournament at Indianapolis last week, but the two had not played in four years. Safin won just one point in the final three games of the opening set. He took control of the second set by winning the first three games and repeated that in the third set while breaking Ginepri’s serve twice.
“Robby is playing really well, coming from a title last week. He is a tough player. It was a well-played match from both of us,” Safin said. “I was able to go up a break in the beginning of the second set and that helped me to turn the match around.”
John Isner of the US upset German No. 7 seed Benjamin Becker 7-6 (8), 7-6 (3), in an earlier match.
Isner, who had mononucleosis and was absent from the ATP Tour for three months, returned to action last week at Indianapolis, where he lost to eventual champion Robby Ginepri in the semi-finals.
Isner said he was “maybe a little bit tired today” after Tuesday’s two-hour, five-minute win that came on the heels of four matches at Indianapolis.
There were just two service breaks in the match, both in the second set. Becker got the first, to take a 3-1 lead, then had what he called “a five-minute mental letdown” and lost his serve.
That was the only one of eight break points converted by Isner, but it got him back on serve and eventually into the tiebreaker, where he won the final four points.
Fifth-seeded Igor Kunitsyn of Russia got his title bid under way with a 7-5, 6-2 win over Indian qualifier Somdev Devvarman, while sixth-seed San Querry of the US beat Denis Istomin 6-2, 6-0.
Ernests Gulbis of Latvia beat Lu Yen-hsun of Taiwan 7-5, 6-2; qualifier Ryan Sweeting topped Taylor Dent, 6-4, 2-6, 6-3, in a matchup of Americans; and Australian qualifier Carsten Ball eliminated France’s Marc Gicquel 6-2, 7-6 (6).
AP, UMAG, CROATIA
Former world No. 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero beat Christophe Rochus of Belgium 6-3, 6-2 in the first round of the Croatia Open on Tuesday.
The Spaniard is playing in his first event since reaching the Wimbledon quarter-finals last month.
Fourth-seeded Juergen Melzer of Austria defeated Brian Dabul of Argentina 6-3, 7-5.
Fabio Fognini of Italy, a semi-finalist last year, rallied to beat eighth-seeded Mischa Zverev of Germany 2-6, 6-3, 6-4, and Frederico Gil of Portugal topped Sergio Roitman of Argentina 7-5, 6-2.
Seventh-seeded Andreas Seppi beat Argentina’s Juan Ignacio Chela 6-4, 2-6, 6-3, and another Italian, Simone Bolleli, needed nearly two and a half hours to defeat Spanish qualifier Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo 7-6 (7), 3-6, 6-0.
Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay ousted wild card Ivan Dodig of Croatia 6-3, 6-1, and Potito Starace of Italy won 6-1, 6-3 over Grega Zemlja of Slovenia, who replaced Simon Gruel of Germany, who withdrew after fainting earlier in the day.
AP, STANFORD, CALIFORNIA
Neither top-seeded Serena Williams nor her second-seeded sister Venus showed off their best tennis on Tuesday, each still doing enough for straight-set victories in their first-round singles matches at the Bank of the West Classic.
Serena broke serve three times in the opening set but needed a second-set tiebreaker to beat gutsy Li Na of China 6-3, 7-6 (6) only a couple of hours after Venus’ 6-2, 6-3 win over Stephanie Dubois of Canada.
Li trailed 6-2 in tiebreaker but came back to tie it at 6-6 before Serena finally capitalized on her seventh match point.
“I was too anxious and ready to go home and was playing a tough player who never gives up,” Serena said. “Obviously I can play better. I think I hit five first serves in the whole match. I’m a little off. That’s fine. I’d rather be a little off now than later.”
Serena overcame seven double faults and showed her frustration on occasions.
While Venus looked far from sharp at times as she sailed shots long and sent others into the net, she pulled out enough of her top shots when it mattered. Same for Serena.
Earlier on Tuesday, Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia outlasted defending champion Aleksandra Wozniak 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 in two hours, 33 minutes.
In other first-round matches, eighth-seeded Marion Bartoli of France defeated Japan’s Ayumi Morita 7-6 (6), 6-3; Maria Kirilenko topped fellow Russian Anna Chakvetadze 6-4, 5-7, 7-6 (5); fourth-seeded Jelena Jankovic of Serbia beat US qualifier Angela Haynes 6-3, 6-1; Australia’s Samantha Stosur upset sixth-seeded Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia 6-4, 6-3; German Sabine Lisicki beat US qualifier Lilia Osterloh 6-2, 6-3 and Russian qualifier Alla Kudryavtseva downed France’s Julie Coin 6-1, 7-6 (5).
‘CRIMINAL ACT’: The UCI said it ‘strongly condemns’ Dylan Groenewegen’s ‘dangerous behavior,’ which left Jakobsen in critical condition and injured other cyclists Dutch cyclist Fabio Jakobsen was in a coma on Wednesday, in “serious” condition, after he was thrown into and over a barrier at 80kph in the conclusion to the opening stage of the Tour de Pologne. Footage showed 23-year-old Jakobsen, of the Deceuninck-Quick-Step, racing elbow-to-elbow with fellow Dutchman Dylan Groenewegen of Jumbo-Visma as both men frantically tussled in a tight sprint to the line in Katowice. However, Jakobsen came off worst, somersaulting over the barriers before colliding with a photographer after Groenewegen had veered suddenly to the right, squeezing his rival into the security wall. “His condition is very serious. His life is
Growing concern over health standards in e-sports has prompted a new federation to pledge to address the problem, as players fall victim to conditions ranging from wrist injuries to obesity, stress and diabetes. The retirement of top Chinese player Jian Zihao, better known by his gaming handle “Uzi,” sent tremors through the booming sport, whose revenues are predicted to reach US$1.1 billion this year, according to industry analyst Newzoo. The 23-year-old, hailed as an “icon” of the League of Legends game, stepped away from e-sports in June, saying that “chronic stress, obesity, irregular diet, staying up late and other reasons” had given
‘COMPLICATED’: The 34-year-old from Spain called sitting out the tournament ‘a decision I never wanted to take,’ but added that he would ‘rather not travel’ Defending champion Rafael Nadal has said that he would skip the US Open because of the COVID-19 pandemic, putting on hold his bid to equal Roger Federer’s men’s record for Grand Slam titles. On Tuesday, Nadal explained his decision in a series of tweets sent in Spanish and English. “The situation is very complicated worldwide. Coronavirus cases are increasing. It looks like we still don’t have control of it,” Nadal wrote. The 34-year-old from Spain called sitting out the tournament scheduled to begin on Aug. 31 in New York “a decision I never wanted to take,” but added that he would “rather not
The Braves were dealt a double blow as the Mets’ Jacob deGrom struck out 10 in six innings to help New York snap a five-game skid with a 7-2 victory on Monday, and as Atlanta top pitcher Mike Soroka went down with a torn Achilles tendon in the third inning. “There’s no sugarcoating this night,” Atlanta slugger Freddie Freeman said. “It stinks. It really does.” Soroka crumpled to the ground on a seemingly routine play, breaking toward first to cover the bag on a grounder to Freeman’s right. “When you lose, in my mind, one of the top pitching arms in this entire