Fri, Feb 22, 2013 - Page 18 News List

Ferrer starts Copa Claro title defense with victory

AP, BUENOS AIRES and MARSEILLE, France

Top-seeded David Ferrer of Spain began his defense of the Copa Claro title with a comfortable 6-4, 6-1 victory over Argentine wild card Agustin Velotti on Wednesday.

Ferrer, ranked No. 4, is a strong favorite to win his second tournament of the young season. He won in Auckland, New Zealand, last month.

Ferrer got off to a 4-1 lead, only to have Velotti win three straight games to level. Ferrer won the last two and swept through the second set.

In another first-round match postponed from Tuesday because of rain in the Argentine capital, David Nalbandian defeated fellow Argentine Carlos Berlocq 6-3, 2-6, 6-3. Also, sixth-seeded Fabio Fognini defeated Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 7-5, 6-3.

Nalbandian, who also came through windy conditions and the threat of rain, would face Ferrer yesterday in the second round.

The first few days of the tournament in Buenos Aires have been poorly attended, hurt by bad weather and the absence of a top-name player like Rafael Nadal.

Meanwhile, top-seeded Tomas Berdych struggled past Ernests Gulbis of Latvia 6-4, 6-7 (8/10), 6-4 to reach the quarter-finals of the Open 13 in Marseille on Wednesday.

Berdych withstood 19 aces from Gulbis in his second-round opener.

He was joined by third-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the 2009 champion, who eased past Nikolay Davydenko 7-6 (7/1), 6-3.

Tsonga is to meet Bernard Tomic of Australia, who also won in straight sets, 6-3, 7-5, against Somdev Devvarman of India.

Gilles Muller, who upset fifth-seeded Richard Gasquet in the first round, defeated Marcel Granollers 7-6 (7/2), 7-6 (7/1).

Sixth-seeded Gilles Simon won his first-round match beating Robin Haase of the Netherlands 7-5, 7-5.

Also advancing were fellow Frenchman Julien Benneteau and Russia’s Dmitry Tursunov.

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