Third-seeded Tomas Berdych recovered from a slow start to beat Jeremy Chardy 6-2, 6-3 on Monday in the first round of the Dubai Championships and fifth-seeded Ivan Ljubicic was forced to retire with a leg injury against Ukrainian qualifier Sergei Bubka.
Berdych took advantage of Chardy’s 40 unforced errors, recovering from a 2-1 deficit in the first set to take the next five games. In the second set, Berdych won six of the final seven games and 16 of the last 20 points.
“It was really solid,” said Berdych, who has been recovering from the flu. “I was not really aiming for some special and extreme shots. Just try to be as consistent and patient and with not too many mistakes.”
Bubka, the son of pole-vaulting great Sergei Bubka, was leading 6-1, 0-1 when Ljubicic quit after being examined by a trainer for pain below the right knee, but above the ankle.
“I couldn’t push my serve a lot,” Ljubicic said. “The start of the second set, I said, ‘OK, I can’t win like this,’ so I just go 100 percent and see what happens. If it’s painful, then I just stop.”
Earlier, eighth-seeded Ernests Gulbis defeated German qualifier Michael Berrer 6-3, 6-4. Gulbis hit 10 aces and broke Berrer once in each set.
“It’s the first win after a long time for me, because I skipped Rotterdam because I was sick and in Marseille I didn’t feel so well,” the Latvian said. “I came here a bit early on Thursday and practiced hard and good. So I reach [sic] some kind of condition which I’m able to play good tennis.”
Richard Gasquet of France also advanced, defeating Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria 6-2, 6-4. Also, Florian Mayer beat Finnish veteran Jarkko Nieminen 6-4, 6-2 and Philipp Petzschner downed Andreas Seppi of Italy 3-6, 7-6 (2), 6-2.
Gasquet benefited from a slew of unforced errors by Dimitrov.
“I know he can miss some easy shots. That’s what he did at four-all in the second set,” Gasquet said. “He missed four easy forehands.”
AP, DELRAY BEACH, FLORIDA
Fourth-seeded John Isner was bundled out of the Delray Beach International Championships in the first round on Monday after a 6-4, 5-7, 7-6 (13) loss to 76th-ranked Teymuraz Gabashvili of Russia.
Isner failed to take advantage of four match points in the final set tiebreaker.
The American helped Gabashvili win the match on his fifth match point in the tiebreaker when he double-faulted away the final point.
Isner was clearly upset by the loss and was not in the mood to answer questions.
“I didn’t play well,” he said.
Gabashvili will play the winner of the match between 2009 US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina and Richard Berankis of Lithuania.
“In the end, he just went for his first serve,” Gabashvili said. “He had four match points he saved, but he just went for it there and in the end it went for me.”
Earlier, top-seeded Andy Roddick withdrew from the tournament because of flu-like symptoms. The eighth-ranked American complained of feeling ill before winning the RMK Championships title over Canada’s Milos Raonic 7-6, 6-7, 7-5 on Sunday.
“I’m very disappointed,” he said. “I’ve waited too long to come back and play this tournament, but with traveling internationally [for Davis Cup] and Palm Springs and Miami coming up on that, it’s just unfortunate timing for this sickness.”
The top four seeds in the Delray Beach tournament were all Americans, with Roddick followed by 2009 champion Mardy Fish, Sam Querrey and Isner. Qualifier Marinko Matosevic of Australia took Roddick’s spot in the draw and will face Dudi Sela of Israel in the first round.