Wed, Jan 13, 2016 - Page 20 News List

Defending champion Jiri Vesely suffers early Auckland exit

AFP, WELLINGTON

Czech Jiri Vesely’s hopes of defending his Auckland Classic title disappeared in the first round yesterday when he was bundled out in straight sets by eighth-seed Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain.

On a rain-disrupted second day that saw no matches completed during the day session, Bautista Agut made up time in the evening by taking just 1 hour, 16 minutes to dispose of Vesely 6-3, 7-5.

Former tournament champion Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany had the worst of the rain disruptions, though he managed to turn it to his advantage. He was trailing compatriot Benjamin Becker 0-30 in the first game when the rain sent the players off the court and they did not resume until nearly six hours later when Kohlschreiber claimed a 7-6 (10/8), 6-3 victory.

Kohlschreiber, who was also a finalist in Auckland in 2013, believes the match has set him up nicely for his second-round clash against No. 2 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France.

“I have one more match under my belt and it is always good to play the big guys in the early rounds, because when they build up their confidence, they are very tough to beat, especially strong players with an aggressive game,” Kohlschreiber said.

American Sam Querrey advanced to the second round when Britain’s Aljaz Bedene retired with an injury early in the deciding third set. Bedene had taken the first set on a tiebreak 7-6 (7/5), but Querrey came back to win the second-set tiebreak 7-6 (12/10) and was 2-1 up in the third when the London-based Bedene pulled out.

In yesterday’s other games, Fabio Fognini of Italy defeated Joao Sousa of Portugal 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (7/3), Michael Venus of New Zealand lost to Benoit Paire of France 4-6, 6-7 (4/7) and Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic beat Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain 7-6 (7/5), 6-4.

The four tournament drawcards — Spain’s David Ferrer, who is chasing a fifth title, Tsonga, John Isner of the US and Kevin Anderson of South Africa — all had first-round byes and are to make opening appearances today.

Additional reporting by staff writer

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