Falla fights back to knock out US seed Young in Auckland


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 - Page 18

Alejandro Falla overcame a slow start to beat Donald Young 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 yesterday, knocking the seventh-seeded American out of the Heinken Open in the first round.

The Colombian struggled at first in windy conditions and fell behind 4-0 in the opening set, before settling into his game while Young tired and succumbed to 65 unforced errors.

Young had dominated the opening games with a strong serve and heavy forehand, allowing Falla only three points on serve in the first four games, but Falla improved quickly, recovering to 5-4, before ultimately losing the first set, then staying unbroken in the second and third sets while Young’s serve declined.

Falla’s second-round opponent will be either Spain’s Albert Montanes or Italy’s Potito Starace. He is in the same quarter of the draw as the top seed, two-time champion David Ferrer.

“I’m very happy that I could get there. It was a very tough day to play because it was very windy,” Falla said.

“It made it very difficult for both of us. He played well in the early games, but I concentrated on moving my feet more and started to get more confident in my game,” he said. “We both made a lot of unforced errors, which is normal in windy conditions, but I’m very happy with the way I played.”

Also yesterday, sixth seed Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil beat Rui Machado of Portugal 6-3, 7-6 (7/3) to advance to the second round.

Bellucci was too strong for Machado, who played a mainly defensive game.

“He played good defense, so it was a good match for me today,” Bellucci said. “My serve helped me a lot and it was important to concentrate and put a high percentage of serves in play.”

Bellucci advanced to a second-round clash with either Belgium’s Olivier Rochus or German wild-card Tobias Kamke.