Preview and Day 1 Review for Johannesburg, Zagreb, and Santiago
February 1, 2010 · Print This Article
First up on Tour, the second SA Open will take place in Johannesburg, South Africa, featuring Gael Monfils and David Ferrer as the tournament’s top two seeds. Defending champ Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will not be taking part in the event.
Next up, Marin Cilic will attempt to defend his title in Zagreb, Croatia, against a field which includes Ivan Ljubicic and Viktor Troicki. Cilic, who made the semifinals in Australia, recently broke into the top 10 this week. That lanky Croat will be joined by fellow Davis Cup players, Ljubicic and Ivo Karlovic.
The final event of the week will feature Chilean sensation Fernando Gonzalez bidding for his fifth title in his hometown of Santiago, Chile. The defending champ will have to fend off a slew of clay-courters which will feature: Juan Monaco, Potito Starace and Thomaz Bellucci.
Let’s now take a look at Monday’s first round action.
SA Tennis Open—Johannesburg, South Africa
Monday’s schedule of play at the SA Open was severely hampered by continuing torrential rain. First-round qualifying matches have not been completed, leaving tournament organizers with the daunting challenge of bringing the draw up to speed. When, and if the rain lets up on Monday, hometown favorite Rik de Voest will battle No. 5 seed Rajeev Ram, No. 8 seed Stephane Robert will face Brendan Evans, Steve Darcis vs. Laurent Recouderc, and Blaz Kavcic will take on Thierry Asicone.
Top seed Gael Monfils, who is making his first trip to South Africa, visited Nelson Mandela’s house during the pre-tournament festivities. The 23-year-old Paris native was moved by the experience.
“Tennis is a sport, but this is history,” said Monfils. I do like the Nelson Mandela story and what he came from and what he made, so for me it was one of my biggest experiences in my small life, and I wish maybe one day I will come back with my parents to show them exactly this, because this is very good.”
Monfils will play Domink Hrbaty in first-round action.
PBZ Zagreb Indoors—Croatia
Unorthodox left-hander Jurgen Melzer stormed into the second-round on Monday in Zagreb, defeating Daniel Brands in a servers duel 6-3, 6-3. Both men pounded seven aces, but it was Melzer’s better return game that allowed for a straight-set victory. Melzer will next face Oliver Rochus in round two after the diminutive Belgium defeated Igor Kunitsyn 4-6, 6-2, 7-5.
Elsewhere, No. 4 seed Viktor Troicki defeated Rainer Schuettler 6-3, 6-3, Ivan Dodig ousted No. 8 seed Evgeny Korolev 7-6 (9), 6-4, Illya Marchenko breezed past Simone Bolelli 6-2, 6-4, and Mikhail Kukushkin defeated Mischa Zverev 6-4, 6-3.
Tuesday’s action in Zargreb will feature: Janko Tipsarevic vs. Michael Berrer, and Benjamin Becker vs. Andreas Vinciguerra.
Movistar Open—Santiago, Chile
A late start to Monday’s order of play will feature five singles matches taking place during the first day of the four-week South American clay-court swing.
Olympic hero Nicolas Massu will have a tough assignment against No. 2 seed Juan Monaco, while No. 8 seed Potito Starace battles Peter Luczak of Australia.
Massu, who has dropped to No. 98 in the world, made the finals in his home event in 2006, and 2007.
Elsewhere, Marcos Daniel will take on Alberto Martin, Martin Vassallo Arguello will battle Marcel Granollers, and Jorge Aguilar will face Juan Ignacio Chela.