Thu, Jan 05, 2012 - Page 18 News List

Sugita, Goffin upset seeded stars at Chennai Open

AFP, Chennai, India

Japan’s Go Soeda serves to Frederico Gil of Portugal in their match at the Chennai Open in Chennai, India, on Tuesday.

Photo: AFP

Japanese qualifier Yuichi Sugita and Belgian wild-card David Goffin upset seeded players to move into the second round of the ATP Chennai Open on Tuesday.

Sugita beat eighth-seeded Olivier Rochus of Belgium 6-3, 6-4, while Goffin stunned last year’s finalist and seventh-seeded compatriot Xavier Malisse 4-6, 6-2, 6-3.

“This is my best win ever,” the 23-year-old Sugita said. “We Japanese love a good fight in sport and this win has given me a lot of confidence. We are both baseline players, so there were a lot of rallies. To win in straight sets is a good start to the year.”

Sugita next plays Taiwan’s Lu Yen-hsun, a 6-3, 6-3 winner over Dutch qualifier Thiemo de Bakker.

The world No. 49, who breezed through the first set, complained of illness after Goffin ran up a 5-2 lead in the second set and did not recover after that.

“I think he ate something bad and had a stomach problem,” Goffin said of Malisse, who returned to the hotel as soon as the two-hour match ended. “I was only concentrating on my game and am very happy to beat a player of his stature. I had never played him before, only watched him on television.”

Goffin is scheduled to take on Andreas Beck of Germany for a place in the quarter-finals. Beck overcame Canadian Vasek Pospisil 6-3, 7-6 (10/8) in the first round.

With sixth seed Fabio Fognini having crashed out on Monday, the tournament has lost three seeded players in the first two days of action at the Nungambakkam Tennis Stadium.

The top contenders, including No. 1 seed Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia, were handed first-round byes.

Tipsarevic, who broke into the top 10 for the first time last year and finished the season ranked ninth in the world, will take on Indian wild-card Yuki Bhambri in the second round.

The Serb’s main challengers for the title are world No. 10 Nicolas Almagro of Spain, defending champion Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland and the big-serving Milos Raonic of Canada.

Frenchman Edouard Roger-Vasselin, who was drafted into the main draw as the “lucky loser” after India’s Somdev Devvarman pulled out with a shoulder injury, moved into the second round.

Roger-Vasselin defeated compatriot Eric Prodon 6-4, 6-3 to set up a meeting with Wawrinka.

Victor Hanescu of Romania ousted Sam Querrey of the US 6-3, 6-4 and he is scheduled to take on Raonic for a quarter-final berth.

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