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).
Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer is buying the Forum for US$400 million, ending the billionaire’s legal fight with Madison Square Garden Co (MSG) and clearing the way to build a new arena for his NBA team down the street in Inglewood, California. Ballmer on Tuesday announced his cash purchase of the venerated arena. Ballmer, a former Microsoft executive, and Clippers vice chairman Dennis Wong are making the transaction through CAPSS LLC, a newly formed entity that would continue to operate the Forum as a live music venue. “This is an unprecedented time, but we believe in our collective future,” Ballmer said.
EXPENDITURE: Tokyo Games organizing committee CEO Toshiro Muto said that ‘additional expenses are going to be quite massive’ to reschedule the Olympics The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is working with sports bodies to arrange a July-to-August window next year for the postponed Tokyo Olympics and hopes to confirm the schedule within a month, Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun reported yesterday. John Coates, head of the IOC’s coordination commission for the Tokyo Olympics, told the newspaper that the Games would have to be held between the tennis Grand Slams of Wimbledon, scheduled to end in mid-July, and the US Open, which starts in late August. “We want to more or less finalize the dates in four weeks’ time,” the newspaper quoted Coates as saying. Coates, who is also
PROUD, BUT BOWING OUT: The Dallas center missed all of 2018 due to Guillain-Barre syndrome, but Travis Frederick returned to be a standout again last season Dallas Cowboys Pro Bowl center Travis Frederick on Monday stunningly announced his retirement. Frederick, who turned 29 on Wednesday last week, was a Pro Bowl selection in five of his six NFL seasons. Frederick revealed his retirement in a lengthy letter, beginning it by writing: “After much consideration, discussion, and reflection, I have decided to retire from football. This was not an easy decision.” Frederick cited his bout with autoimmune disease Guillain-Barre syndrome as a factor. He missed the 2018 season due to the illness in which the body’s immune system attacks the nervous system, but he returned to be a standout again last
Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert, whose positive COVID-19 test prompted the NBA to shut down its season, says that the coronavirus has caused him to lose his sense of smell. The Frenchman, whose defensive talents have earned him the nickname “Stifle Tower,” tested positive for COVID-19 on March 11, the result bringing the NBA season to an abrupt halt. In social media posts since then, the 27-year-old had said he was feeling better, but on Sunday he tweeted that he was experiencing one of the lesser-known symptoms of the illness. “Just to give you guys an update, loss of smell and taste is