Wed, Jan 01, 2014 - Page 20 News List

Pospisil and Vesely enter second round of Chennai Open


Rising stars Vasek Pospisil of Canada and Jiri Vesely of the Czech Republic began the new tennis season with first-round victories in the ATP Chennai Open on Monday.

Fifth-seeded Pospisil, who jumped from No. 140 to 32 in the rankings by the end of last year’s season, brushed past British wild-card Kyle Edmund 6-3, 7-5 at the Nungambakkam Tennis Stadium.

“Its nice to start the season with a win, but I have a long way to go,” said the 23-year-old, who is Canada’s No. 2 player behind the big-serving Milos Raonic.

Pospisil’s next opponent will be Taiwan’s Lu Yen-hsun, who ruined American Tim Smyczek’s 26th birthday with a 6-4, 6-2 victory on an outside court.

Vesely, who at 20 is the youngest player in the world’s top 100, survived a scare from Indian wild-card Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan before advancing to the next round.

Vesely, ranked 84, bounced back after trailing 1-4 in the first set to beat the Indian 7-5, 6-2 on the center court.

“I did not have a good start, but the important thing is that I won,” said the Czech, who was the number one junior player in 2011.

Swiss world No. 8 Stanislas Wawrinka leads the field in the US$450,000 tournament, South Asia’s only ATP event that serves as a warm-up for the Australian Open in mid-January.

Wawrinka, who won the Chennai title in 2011, will have world No. 15 Mikhail Youzhny of Russia, No. 16 Fabio Fognini of Italy and the 26th-ranked Benoit Paire of France as his strongest challengers.

Also in the fray are the Spanish duo of Marcel Granollers and Roberto Bautista-Agut, and Frenchman Edouard Roger-Vasselin.

Defending champion Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia withdrew from a seventh appearance in Chennai after failing to recover from a heel injury that troubled him all through the year, while Dudi Sela of Israel beat Slovak Lukas Lacko 6-4, 6-2 to set up a clash against Youzhny.

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