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.