Verdasco humbles Youzhny in Hamburg
Russian Mikhail Youzhny’s miserable form continued at the Tennis Masters Hamburg event on Monday when he was sent packing in round one by Verdasco.
The tenth seed and world No.13 went down 6-3, 6-2 to Spaniard Fernando Verdasco in 77 minutes in the day’s biggest shock at the Rothenbaum Tennis Center.
Youzhny, who hasn’t won a match on clay this season, was one of two seeded players to go out. Sixteenth seed Paul Henri Mathieu also lost, going down 6-4, 6-4 to home hope Nicolas Kiefer.
Among other surprise first round results, French doubles specialist Michael Llodra shocked Argentine Guillermo Canas 7-6, 6-2.
And there was a good win for Marat Safin, who had to qualify for the event over the weekend. The Russian two-time grand slam winner took out Croat Marin Cilic in straight sets on day two.
Three seeds also booked their places in round two: 12th seed Juan Monaco, 14th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and 15th seeded Brit Andy Murray.
Tsonga’s was the most dramatic of the victories, bouncing back after a disastrous first set to beat fellow Frenchman Nicolas Mahut 0-6, 7-6, 6-2.
“I was a little lost at the beginning,” Tsonga said. “In Rome, I didn’t even know what to do with the ball. I think I can play on this surface. I need to play more matches and gain more experience.”
In Rome, the women’s Tier 1 Italian Open kicked off on Monday.
Playing in her first WTA Tour event since last year’s US Open, Aussie Sam Stosur returned to the big-time in style, beating Michaella Krajicek 6-3, 6-2.
Stosur has been missing from the tour due to serious illness and injury and is playing only her third tournament of the year after appearances in recent $50,000 and $75,000 ITF events.
Stosur’s reward is a shot at Venus Williams, who is also making something of a comeback after being away from the tour since Miami in early April.
Four seeds progressed to the second round tenth seed Vera Zvonareva, 11th seed Agnes Szavay, 12th seed Agnieszka Radwanska and 17th seed and local favourite Francesca Schiavone, of Italy.
Last week’s shock winner in Berlin, Dinara Safina, has pulled out of the tournament with a back injury.
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