Andreev slips past injured Lu Yen-hsun

KREMLIN OPEN: Igor Andreev advanced when Taiwan’s Lu Yen-hsun retired with an ankle injury, while Amelie Mauresmo rallied to beat French compatriot Alize Cornet

AGENCIES , MOSCOW

Wed, Oct 08, 2008 - Page 20

Russia’s Igor Andreev cruised comfortably into the second round of the US$2.4 million ATP and WTA Kremlin Cup on Monday, beating Taiwan’s Lu Yen-hsun (盧彥勳).

The 25-year-old second seed won the opening set 6-2 in his first ever meeting with Lu, but his opponent retired at that point with a right ankle injury.

The 35-year-old veteran Fabrice Santoro of France, 65th in the ATP rankings, had to battle from a set down to beat Yury Schukin of Kazakhstan, who is 187th in the world, 4-6, 7-6 (7/2), 6-4 to get his second-round berth.

Another Frenchman, Jeremy Chardy, battled into the second round past Italy’s Potito Starace also performing a comeback to gain a 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 win in the two men’s first ever meeting in one hour, 44 minutes.

Meanwhile, Nicolas Devilder of France crashed out of the tournament, suffering an opening-round 6-2, 6-4 defeat at the hands of Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in one hour, 24 minutes.

In the WTA section of the event, veteran Amelie Mauresmo of France, 25th in the world, battled back from a set down to see off her compatriot Alize Cornet 6-7 (3/7) 6-3, 6-4 for a third win in as many meetings.

The Frenchwomen decided the opening set in a tiebreak after both kept their serves through.

Cornet was more precise to win 7-3 for a one-set lead after 63 minutes.

In the second, Cornet, who is 19th in the WTA rankings, broke in the fifth game but Mauresmo moved up a gear and broke back twice to level at one set all after one hour, 39 minutes on court.

In the deciding set, the 25-year-old Geneva resident Mauresmo produced two more breaks to take the set and the match in two hours 39 minutes, while her 18-year-old opponent managed to reply with a break only once.

“It’s always difficult and not very comfortable to play another French woman,” Mauresmo said. “Yes, it was tight, but we showed some good things, sometimes a little bit ups and downs, but overall a pretty good match.”

In the second round Mauresmo will face second-seeded Dinara Safina of Russia.

“Dinara obviously has a strong seat,” Mauresmo said. “I will be definitely the underdog there for the next match.”

In Monday’s other matches, Russia’s Vera Dushevina defeated Nicole Vaidisova of Czech Republic 6-1, 3-6, 6-3, while Slovakia’s Dominika Cibulkova beat Marion Bartoli of France 6-1, 4-1 retired.

US Open champion Serena Williams, last year’s runner-up in Moscow, pulled out because of an ankle injury.

■AUSTRIAN OPEN

AFP, VIENNA

Former world No. 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero upset fourth-seeded Croat Ivo Karlovic 6-4, 7-6 (7/4) on Monday to advance to the second round of the Austrian Open.

Although Karlovic added a further 17 aces to the 848 he had already fired this season, the rest of his game could not match the standard shown by his Spanish ­opponent. Ferrero also served so well that Karlovic failed to make many of his returns, he struck some fine groundstrokes, and hit several winners off of the intimidating Karlovic serve.

A break for 2-1 when Ferrero hit an impressive forehand winner down the line while on the run was enough to decide the opening set, although the Spaniard had to fight off a break point to hold for 4-2 and another as he served for the set.

After Karlovic survived two break points to hold for 1-0 in the second set games went with serve until the tiebreak, won with a mini-break on the first point.

Fifth seeded Spaniard Fernando Verdasco overcame Romanian qualifier Victor Crivoi 6-4, 6-4, and he will next play Guillermo Canas of Argentina, who earned a welcome 7-6 (7/2) 6-3 victory over Italy’s Andreas Seppi.

Czech qualifier Jan Hernych edged past Roko Karanusic 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7/5) to set up a second round clash with top seed Stanislas Wawrinka, and there were also victories for Spaniards Carlos Moya and Feliciano Lopez.

Moya defeated Germany’s Michael Berrer 7-6 (7/5) 7-6 (8/6), and Lopez overcame Agustin Calleri of Argentina 7-6 (7/2) 7-6 (7/4).

Top seed Wawrinka, second seed Fernando Gonzalez of Chile and Argentine third seed Juan Martin Del Potro this week all have the chance to move into the eighth spot in the Race for the Tennis Masters Cup.

The top eight players will compete in the season-ending event in Shanghai, which takes place between Nov. 9 and Nov. 16.

Less than 100 points separate current Race No. 8 James Blake and 22nd-placed Radek Stepanek. Blake surrendered his opportunity to solidify his position by withdrawing from Vienna for personal reasons.

Del Potro, runner-up in Tokyo on Sunday to Tomas Berdych, can overtake Blake by reaching the quarter-finals in Vienna, and move past No. 7 David Ferrer if he wins the title.

If Wawrinka, currently No. 10 in the Race, wins the title he would move above Blake and Del Potro, if Del Potro fails to reach the final.

A title for Gonzalez would move him up from 11 to eight in the race.

“I need one or two more results and I”m working to earn this,” said Del Potro, who after being ranked 75 in April entered the world”s top 10 this week. “I hope to continue this good form and qualify for Shanghai.”