Australian Open semi-finalist David Ferrer failed to get past the first round at the World Indoor Tournament after being surprisingly swept aside 6-3, 6-4 by unseeded Finn Jarkko Nieminen on Tuesday.
It was the Spaniard’s first opening round defeat since August as he struggled on serve with five double faults in the loss to a player he beat in the first round in Melbourne.
Top seed Robin Soderling had no such concerns as he sauntered to a 6-3, 6-2 victory over local favorite Robin Haase in less than an hour to open the defense of his title.
The Swede dropped just six points on serve to set up a second-round meeting with Germany’s Philip Kohlschreiber, who beat Taiwan’s Lu Yen-hsun 6-4, 7-6.
Eighth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga got past Bulgarian youngster Grigor Dimitrov, named “Baby Federer” on the circuit, 6-4, 6-4.
“He [Dimitrov] has that nickname, but he still is no Federer, who is more consistent and moves better,” Tsonga told reporters. “[But] today I had to play my best tennis, otherwise I could have lost this match.”
Fourth-seeded Czech Tomas Berdych cruised into the second round with a 6-1, 6-2 win over Spain’s Guillermo Garcia-Lopez.
Second-seeded Briton Andy Murray, who won the title in 2009 when he beat Rafael Nadal in the final, started his campaign against unseeded Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis yesterday.
OPEN GAZ DE FRANCE
Bethanie Mattek-Sands set up a second-round meeting with Maria Sharapova at the Paris Open with a blistering 6-0, 6-3 win over Carla Suarez Navarro on Tuesday.
The American showed she really meant business against the hapless Spaniard on the hard-court at the Stade Coubertin.
World No. 17 Kaia Kanepi made sure she progressed with a 7-6, 6-2 first-round win over Anastasija Sevastova.
Czech fourth seed Petra Kvitova swatted aside Russian qualifier Vesna Manasieva 7-5, 6-4, while Jelena Dokic fought back to beat Lucie Safarova 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in one of the best matches of the day, albeit in front of a sparse crowd.
Dokic, who has fallen so far from her career-high ranking of No. 4 in 2002 that she had to qualify for the first round, sent down a stream of booming forehands to triumph as Safarova’s bandaged hamstring and use of on-court coaching failed.
SAN JOSE OPEN
REUTERS, SAN JOSE
A couple of tips from 14-time grand slam champion Pete Sampras helped Canada’s new tennis hope Milos Raonic to a comprehensive victory over fourth seed Xavier Malisse at the San Jose Open on Tuesday.
The 20-year-old Raonic burst on to the scene at last month’s Australian Open where he reached the fourth round as a qualifier and he continued the momentum with a first round victory over Malisse after meeting Sampras on Monday.
“I got to meet Pete Sampras. It was really amazing,” Raonic wrote in his blog on the tournament Web site. “He gave me some well-thought out tips. For me, it was an unbelievable experience.”
Raonic did his best Sampras impersonation in San Jose by recording 20 aces against Malisse to set up a second-round match against American James Blake.
Elsewhere in San Jose, third-seeded Sam Querrey was upset by Slovakia’s Lukas Lacko 7-6, 6-3. It was the third straight loss of the year for Querrey who reached the semi-finals last year in San Jose.
In other matches, Lithuanian Richard Berankis beat sixth-seeded Benjamin Becker 6-3, 7-6, Kei Nishikori beat Jan Hajek 6-1, 7-6, Brian Dabul defeated Alejandro Falla 6-4, 6-3 and former US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro knocked off Teymuraz Gabashvili 6-3, 6-2.