Thu, Jul 19, 2012 - Page 18 News List

James Blake beats rain, surgery, Ryan Harrison

DELAYS:The 32-year-old James Blake, a veteran of the circuit, won his 350th career match against Olympics-bound Harrison after waiting for two-and-a-half hours


James Blake returns a shot on Tuesday to Ryan Harrison during the Atlanta Open in Atlanta, Georgia.

Photo: AFP

Veteran James Blake overcame a slow start and a two-and-a-half-hour rain delay to beat fellow American and No. 6 seed Ryan Harrison 1-6, 6-3, 7-5 at the Atlanta Open on Tuesday.

Blake is 32 years old, coming off right-knee surgery and playing with a sore right shoulder, but his game was precise enough against No. 6 seed Ryan Harrison to win his 350th career match on the ATP World Tour.

“My knee hasn’t been that far off, but it’s been far enough off that it’s affected me,” Blake said. “When that starts getting better, my shoulder starts giving me problems, and it makes me realize I’m not 20, like Ryan, anymore.”

Harrison was disappointed in the outcome, but does not believe the setback will affect his preparation for the Olympics.

Eighth-seeded Go Soeda of Japan, Matthew Ebden of Australia and Michael Russell overcame a nearly three-hour rain delay in the afternoon matches.

Soeda beat Belgium’s Xavier Malisse 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 and advanced to a second-round clash with Russia’s Igor Kunitsyn.

Ebden held off qualifier Sergei Bubka of Ukraine 5-7, 6-1, 6-1 and will next meet Blake, who won a match for the first time since Nov. 3. He was 0-6 this year.

Russell beat Alex Kuznetsov 2-6, 6-4, 7-6, setting up a meeting with fifth-seeded South African Kevin Anderson.

John Isner and two-time defending champion Mardy Fish, the second seed, are to play their first-round matches today.

Third-seeded Kei Nishikori of Japan and Roddick would play their first-round matches yesterday.

Malisse had 10 aces before Soeda broke his serve to go up 6-5 in the second. It was one of two break points Soeda won in nine tries.

Russell was down 3-4 in the second set, but shifted the momentum by breaking Kuznetsov’s serve.

“As soon as I saw that he was a little bit tight, I was able to get some free points,” Russell said. “He got a little frustrated towards the end of that second set.”

Russell managed one ace, to 14 for Kuznetsov.

“Even when it still got down to that second set, I knew he still would have to come up with either a great serve or a great shot to beat me,” Russell said.

“I was able to get through those tight games,” he added.

Nishikori is to face Ricardas Berankis of Lithuania, a 6-3, 6-2 winner over Russia’s Dmitry Tursunov. Roddick is scheduled to play Nicolas Mahut of France.

In the late match, Ruben Bemelmans of Belgium breezed past Rajeev Ram 6-1, 6-3.

Swiss Open

AP, GSTAAD, Switzerland

Fifth-seeded Feliciano Lopez of Spain edged 102nd-ranked Adrian Ungur of Romania 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 on Tuesday in the first round of the Swiss Open.

Lopez broke serve just once, but hit nine of his 14 aces in the final set to advance at the clay-court event.

Sixth-seeded Julien Benneteau of France was eliminated after slumping to a 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 loss to Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria.

In other three-set matches, Lukasz Kubot of Poland rallied to beat Ivan Dodig of Croatia 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, and Germany’s Dustin Brown outlasted Sergiy Stakhovsky of Ukraine 3-6, 6-4, 7-6.

Ernests Gulbis of Latvia beat Italian Filippo Volandri 7-6, 4-6, 6-3.

Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil routed Slovenia’s Blaz Kavcic 6-1, 6-1, while Jan Hajek of the Czech Republic advanced when French opponent Edouard Roger-Vasselin retired with a stomach injury while trailing 4-1.

German Tennis Championships

AP, HAMBURG, Germany

Wild card Julian Reister of Germany upset fifth-seeded Fernando Verdasco of Spain 6-2, 6-3 in the first round of the German Tennis Championships on Tuesday.

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