Duo edge closer to finals berth
Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:55
The seeded trio received byes into the second round, and Davydenko wasted little time in trouncing Benjamin Becker 6-2 6-1 to reach the last 16.
Frenchman Tsonga cruised to a similarly emphatic 6-1 7-5 win over Albert Montanes of Spain but a tense-looking Verdasco had a much tougher time against Italy’s Andreas Seppi, losing the first set having been a break up before recovering to win 6-7 (3/7) 6-4 6-4.
Davydenko went into the final event of the regular season in pole position to secure one of the two remaining places for the prestigious eight-man tournament at the O2 Arena in London.
And Verdasco’s victory means Radek Stepanek and Marin Cilic cannot now qualify, with Robin Soderling, Fernando Gonzalez and Tsonga the only men in with a chance of overhauling the pair.
The latter must retain his title – without facing Verdasco in the final – in order to reach the season finale.
Elsewhere in the second round, France’s Gilles Simon bravely overcame injury to battle past Croatian Ivan Ljubicic in three sets.
Simon aggravated a knee injury in the sixth game of the final set but took the match to a decisive tie-break and gained a crucial mini-break to go 4-3 up before eventually winning 6-3 3-6 7-6 (7/4)
In first-round action, French qualifier David Guez surprisingly beat Stanislas Wawrinka 6-3 6-4 while another Swiss player, Marco Chiudinelli, could not build on his run to the semi-finals in Basle last week as he lost 6-2 6-4 to Nicolas Almagro, who will face second seed Rafael Nadal next.
Juan Monaco set up a second-round clash against Novak Djokovic with a 7-6 (8/6) 7-5 victory over Jeremy Chardy, home hope Julien Benneteau saw off Philipp Petzschner 4-6 7-5 6-3 and now faces Roger Federer and Arnaud Clement hammered Feliciano Lopez 6-3 6-1.