Singles draw kicks into high gear tomorrow as top four seeds Ferrer, Monaco, Nishikori and Dolgopolov start campaigns; Doubles top seeds move into quarters
Canadian number two and world No.122 Vasek Pospisil posted his first ever second round victory in an ATP 250 series tournament when he defeated qualifier Michael Yani of the USA 6-3, 7-5 in one hour and 50 minutes on Centre Court to move into the quarterfinals of the Malaysian Open, Kuala Lumpur 2012 held here at the Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil.
Pospisil, who came into the tournament as the lowest ranked direct acceptance, is making the quarterfinal of an ATP 250 tournament for the first time, and will face the winner of the second round match between second seed world No. 11 Juan Monaco and wild card Jimmy Wang.
“It’s been a great tournament for me. I have had a few good matches and hopefully I can keep my level. I lost to Monaco in straight sets early this year but whomever I play, it will be tough and hopefully I play as well as I did today,” said the Canadian.
Fifth seed Feliciano Lopez also made it through to the second round after a hard fought 6-3, 7-6 (7-3) victory over Slovakian Lukas Lacko in one hour and 40 minutes on Centre Court.
Surprisingly, Lacko took an early lead and was up 3-0 in the first set before the world No. 32 Spaniard hit his stride and the Slovakian disintegrated to lose six straight games and the set.
In a tight second set, both men played at a very high level and with the excited crowd very much behind him, fifth seed Lopez held on to end the contest with an exquisite drop shot in the tenth point of the tie-break.
“I didn’t start very well and took some time to adjust. But after the third game I played better and better and took six games in a row. The second set was close as (Lacko) played well from the middle onwards,” said the 31-year-old, who celebrated his birthday last Thursday.
Lopez will meet Dutchman Igor Sijsling in tomorrow’s second round match, with the duo having never met before.
“I have not played him before but I am expecting another tough match because we have to accept that everyone plays very good at this level,” added Lopez.
Meanwhile, Frenchman Julien Benneteau served sweet revenge for his Indian Wells defeat earlier this year to Australia’s Matthew Ebden by winning 7-5, 6-2 in their second round singles encounter today that lasted one hour and 14 minutes.
Tournament seventh seed and world No.34 Benneteau is playing the tennis of his career and will pose a serious threat in the quarterfinal, where he will meet the winner of tomorrow’s encounter between fourth seed Alexandr Dolgopolov and Alejandro Falla.
The 2009 singles champ Nikolay Davydenko struggled a little in his first round match today against lucky loser Sanam Singh of India, but prevailed 7-5, 6-4 in one hour and 43 minutes on Centre Court.
There were times it felt the 31-year-old Russian was still getting used to the court as he struggled to return the tenacious world No. 373 Indian’s serve, but when it mattered, his class showed as he wrapped up victory in straight sets.
“The Centre Court is a bit slow and you need time to have preparation. I made a lot of mistakes in control. Sometimes I have a few good shots, and then I make mistakes and I don’t know why,” said the slightly frustrated Russian after the match.
Davydenko will meet Uzbek Denis Istomin in tomorrow’s second round match, with the former world No.3 having beaten Istomin earlier this year on the clay courts of Nice in May.
“We played in Nice and I played a little bit better there. If I play tomorrow like how I played today, I have no chance. I will need to play better and be fit,” said Davydenko, who made the semifinals of the ATP 250 Moselle Open just last week.
Istomin had booked his path to the second round by easily disposing of sixth seeded Pablo Andujar of Spain 6-3, 6-2 in just 73 minutes, marking his second victory in 2012 over the Spaniard after February’s win on the hard courts of the Apia International in Sydney.
Colombian Alejandro Falla moved into the second round when American Rajeev Ram pulled out with an injury as their Centre Court match was poised at 7-6 (7-4), 4-2 in favour of the Colombian. Falla will face number four seed Alexandr Dolgopolov in tomorrow’s second round match.
Meanwhile, in the day’s first match on Court 1, world No. 90 Alex Bogomolov Jr. of Russia defeated qualifier and doubles specialist Dominic Inglot of Great Britain 7-5, 6-3 in just 66 minutes.
“He’s got a good serve and he places it well, but I didn’t face a break point against him so that was good,” said 29-year-old Bogomolov, who made the tough decision of switching nationalities from American to Russian this year to fulfill his dreams of playing in the Olympics and Davis Cup.
He will now face top seed David Ferrer for a spot in the quarterfinal and said of the match: “I’ve played a lot of top ten players this year. It is good and bad. Bad because someone has to go out, but positive also because we see how we match up against the top guys.”
STARS DESCEND TO COURT IN SECOND ROUND OF MALAYSIAN OPEN, KUALA LUMPUR
Top seeds David Ferrer, Juan Monaco, Kei Nishikori and Alexandr Dolgopolov will all take to centre court for the second round of the Malaysian Open, Kuala Lumpur 2012 at the Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil tomorrow.
The first match on Centre Court scheduled for 1pm sees second seeded Argentinean world No. 11 Monaco make his long awaited Malaysian Open debut against wild card Jimmy Wang of Chinese Taipei.
Next up, in-form Denis Istomin, who beat sixth seed Pablo Andujar, takes on 2009 singles champion Russian Davydenko, who struggled a little with the pace of the Centre Court today, for a spot in Friday’s quarterfinals.
Fourth seed world No. 20 Ukrainian Dolgopolov will take on Colombian Alejandro Falla in the third centre court match starting not before 3pm, with the latter confident of matching his higher ranked 23-year-old opponent.
“Dolgopolov is a favourite but I feel I can play well against him. It was a close match the last time and we both know each other’s games. I have to play my best to beat him,” said 28-year-old Falla.
Next, third time participant and third seed Kei Nishikori of Japan plays his much anticipated second round encounter with Spaniard Albert Ramos, who showed terrific form in beating qualifier Julian Knowle in the first round. The match is scheduled to start not before 6.30pm.
Top seed world No. 5 David Ferrer makes his 2012 tournament debut against Alex Bogomolov Jr. in the day’s final and most anticipated match on Centre Court starting not before 7.30pm.
TOP SEEDS THROUGH IN DOUBLES AS ALL QUARTERFINAL MATCHES SET TO BE CONTESTED TOMORROW
In the doubles draw today, top seeds and 2009 tournament champions Mariusz Frystenberg and Marcin Matkowski of Poland eased into the quarterfinals with a straightforward 6-1, 6-3 win over Malaysian doubles wild card pairing of Mohd Assri Merzuki and Syed Mohd Agil Syed Naguib.
The top seeds rarely got out of second gear and allowed their teenage debutants to warm to the challenge and put up a good show for the home crowd, especially at the start of the second set.
The Polish duo will face the Canadian-Indian surprise package of Vasek Pospisil and Sanam Singh in tomorrow’s quarterfinal match.
German pairing of Michael Kohlmann and Frank Moser also moved into the doubles quarterfinals after a come from behind super tie-breaker victory over the Philippine-Great Briton pairing of Treat Conrad Huey and Dominic Inglot, winning 5-7, 6-3 (11-9) in one hour and 29 minutes.
The result could be considered an upset as Huey and Inglot are ranked higher in the ATP doubles ranking and the German duo have only played as a pair three times before back in 2008. They will meet second seeded Italian-Brazilian pairing of Daniele Bracciali and Marcelo Melo in tomorrow’s last match on Court 1.
In the first of the four quarterfinal doubles matches played tomorrow, fourth seeds Julian Knowle of Austria and Slovakian partner Filip Polasek take to Court 1 against the Great Briton pairing of Colin Fleming and Ross Hutchins.
In the only other final quarterfinal, Nikolay Davydenko and Belgium partner Dick Norman will attempt to beat the odds as they face third seeds Alexander Peya of Austria and Brazilian Bruno Soares.
Tickets for tomorrow are priced at RM15 (RM10 for students) for regular seating, RM20 for reserved seating and RM50 for VIP seats. Tickets can be purchased at the tournament official website www.malaysianopentennis.com.
The tournament is supported by the Ministry of Tourism Malaysia and Tourism Malaysia and sponsors that include Rado, CNN International, the DoubleTree by Hilton Kuala Lumpur, Wilson, 100 Plus, the Albukhary Foundation, Astro and the ATP World Tour’s Premier Partner Corona. The event is sanctioned by the Lawn Tennis Association of Malaysia.