Eighth-seeded Marat Safin of Russia beat Robby Ginepri of the US, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the first round of the LA Tennis Open on Tuesday.
The win was the former No. 1’s first in three meetings with Ginepri, who won the tournament at Indianapolis last week, but the two had not played in four years. Safin won just one point in the final three games of the opening set. He took control of the second set by winning the first three games and repeated that in the third set while breaking Ginepri’s serve twice.
“Robby is playing really well, coming from a title last week. He is a tough player. It was a well-played match from both of us,” Safin said. “I was able to go up a break in the beginning of the second set and that helped me to turn the match around.”
John Isner of the US upset German No. 7 seed Benjamin Becker 7-6 (8), 7-6 (3), in an earlier match.
Isner, who had mononucleosis and was absent from the ATP Tour for three months, returned to action last week at Indianapolis, where he lost to eventual champion Robby Ginepri in the semi-finals.
Isner said he was “maybe a little bit tired today” after Tuesday’s two-hour, five-minute win that came on the heels of four matches at Indianapolis.
There were just two service breaks in the match, both in the second set. Becker got the first, to take a 3-1 lead, then had what he called “a five-minute mental letdown” and lost his serve.
That was the only one of eight break points converted by Isner, but it got him back on serve and eventually into the tiebreaker, where he won the final four points.
Fifth-seeded Igor Kunitsyn of Russia got his title bid under way with a 7-5, 6-2 win over Indian qualifier Somdev Devvarman, while sixth-seed San Querry of the US beat Denis Istomin 6-2, 6-0.
Ernests Gulbis of Latvia beat Lu Yen-hsun of Taiwan 7-5, 6-2; qualifier Ryan Sweeting topped Taylor Dent, 6-4, 2-6, 6-3, in a matchup of Americans; and Australian qualifier Carsten Ball eliminated France’s Marc Gicquel 6-2, 7-6 (6).
AP, UMAG, CROATIA
Former world No. 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero beat Christophe Rochus of Belgium 6-3, 6-2 in the first round of the Croatia Open on Tuesday.
The Spaniard is playing in his first event since reaching the Wimbledon quarter-finals last month.
Fourth-seeded Juergen Melzer of Austria defeated Brian Dabul of Argentina 6-3, 7-5.
Fabio Fognini of Italy, a semi-finalist last year, rallied to beat eighth-seeded Mischa Zverev of Germany 2-6, 6-3, 6-4, and Frederico Gil of Portugal topped Sergio Roitman of Argentina 7-5, 6-2.
Seventh-seeded Andreas Seppi beat Argentina’s Juan Ignacio Chela 6-4, 2-6, 6-3, and another Italian, Simone Bolleli, needed nearly two and a half hours to defeat Spanish qualifier Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo 7-6 (7), 3-6, 6-0.
Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay ousted wild card Ivan Dodig of Croatia 6-3, 6-1, and Potito Starace of Italy won 6-1, 6-3 over Grega Zemlja of Slovenia, who replaced Simon Gruel of Germany, who withdrew after fainting earlier in the day.
AP, STANFORD, CALIFORNIA
Neither top-seeded Serena Williams nor her second-seeded sister Venus showed off their best tennis on Tuesday, each still doing enough for straight-set victories in their first-round singles matches at the Bank of the West Classic.
Serena broke serve three times in the opening set but needed a second-set tiebreaker to beat gutsy Li Na of China 6-3, 7-6 (6) only a couple of hours after Venus’ 6-2, 6-3 win over Stephanie Dubois of Canada.
Li trailed 6-2 in tiebreaker but came back to tie it at 6-6 before Serena finally capitalized on her seventh match point.
“I was too anxious and ready to go home and was playing a tough player who never gives up,” Serena said. “Obviously I can play better. I think I hit five first serves in the whole match. I’m a little off. That’s fine. I’d rather be a little off now than later.”
Serena overcame seven double faults and showed her frustration on occasions.
While Venus looked far from sharp at times as she sailed shots long and sent others into the net, she pulled out enough of her top shots when it mattered. Same for Serena.
Earlier on Tuesday, Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia outlasted defending champion Aleksandra Wozniak 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 in two hours, 33 minutes.
In other first-round matches, eighth-seeded Marion Bartoli of France defeated Japan’s Ayumi Morita 7-6 (6), 6-3; Maria Kirilenko topped fellow Russian Anna Chakvetadze 6-4, 5-7, 7-6 (5); fourth-seeded Jelena Jankovic of Serbia beat US qualifier Angela Haynes 6-3, 6-1; Australia’s Samantha Stosur upset sixth-seeded Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia 6-4, 6-3; German Sabine Lisicki beat US qualifier Lilia Osterloh 6-2, 6-3 and Russian qualifier Alla Kudryavtseva downed France’s Julie Coin 6-1, 7-6 (5).
Indian police are investigating an alleged betting scandal in which a sham cricket tournament was held in an Indian village and passed off as a Twenty20 contest played in Sri Lanka. Players portrayed as Sri Lankan cricketers played two matches on Monday last week that were broadcast with live commentary on YouTube, media reports said, along with ball-by-ball coverage on top Indian sports Web sites. The organizers hung Sri Lankan advertisements at the ground for added authenticity and put up tents to block the view from outside the remote rural venue, set in farmland next to a busy highway. Police said that they
Taipower on Sunday charged to their third straight win and took over first place in the Taiwan Football Premier League as previous leaders Taichung Futuro suffered their first defeat of the season, while Hang Yuan rallied from two goals down to complete a thrilling 3-2 victory over National Taiwan University of Sport (NTUS). Heading into the 10th round of matches, unbeaten Taichung Futuro led the league with 21 points, but they fell to their first defeat of the season, a 1-0 loss to Tatung at the National Stadium in Kaohsiung. In a match in which both defenses were on top and there
Thailand international Pitsamai Sornsai, a new arrival for Inter Taoyuan, is to lead her team against Taipei Bravo tomorrow in the 10th round of the Taiwan Mulan Football League. Sornsai, who is nicknamed Pui, has attracted interest from media and fans as the first foreigner signed to play in Taiwan’s women’s league. Inter are among six teams battling for the title this year. The addition of Sornsai is a boost for the international profile of women’s soccer in Taiwan and elevates the competition. The 31-year-old brings a wealth of experience, including from the Asian Football Confederation’s Women’s Championship, the Southeast Asian Games and
HOTSHOT: Luis Suarez scored his 194th goal for Barca, tying him with Ladislao Kubala as the club’s third-highest scorer, behind Cesar Rodriguez and Lionel Messi With another decisive penalty from Sergio Ramos, Real Madrid on Sunday extended their perfect run after the COVID-19 suspension and moved closer to their first Spanish title in three years. Ramos scored his fifth goal since the season resumed as Madrid defeated Athletic Bilbao 1-0 to maintain a four-point lead over Barcelona, who beat fifth-placed Villarreal 4-1. Luis Suarez and Antoine Griezmann were among the scorers for Barcelona after assists from Lionel Messi. Ramos converted a 73rd-minute penalty to give Madrid their seventh straight victory and they remain the only team with a perfect record since La Liga resumed. “These three points are very