TENNIS / Malisse wins second title of the year

PARIS: Nathalie Dechy beat Tathiana Garbin 6-2, 6-3 in a first round match at the Open Gaz de France here on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, former champion Dinara Safina opened her account by putting away Michaella Krajicek of the Netherlands 6-4, 7-5 on Monday.

Safina, the winner in 2005, hasn't lost before the quarterfinals in three previous appearances in the Paris indoor tournament.

The Russian, seeded seventh, won her fifth career title last month at Gold Coast, Australia.

Krajicek, who had beaten Safina in their previous match in last year's final at s'Hertogenbosch, Netherlands, lost her third straight tournament-opening match.

Meanwhile at Delray Beach on Monday, Xavier Malisse of Belgium won his second ATP title of the year when he beat top-seeded James Blake 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 in the rain-delayed Delray Beach International final.

Third-seeded Malisse trailed 7-5, 3-3 when the final was suspended on Sunday.

When the two returned to the court on Monday, Malisse adapted better to the strong wind.

"I have to tell you if we would have played yesterday I probably would have lost," Malisse said. "He was hitting it hard yesterday and really clean. Today with the wind it slowed down his ball a little bit, especially against the wind."

Malisse broke the American in the first game on Monday then levelled the set score. He broke Blake in the third game of the last set and served out.

The victory marked Malisse's 200th ATP win, and first against Blake, who earned his 200th win last Thursday.

The results: At Pattaya City (WTA Pattaya Open): First round: Martina Sucha bt Andreja Klepac 7-5, 6-3; Sybille Bammer bt Vasilisa Bardina 6-1, 6-4; Nicole Pratt bt Maria Kirilenko 7-6, 2-6, 7-5; Romina Oprandi bt Olga Savchuk 3-6, 6-4, 7-5; Gisela Dulko bt Tiantian Sun 6-4, 6-1; Alla Kudryavtseva bt Meng Yuan 1-6, 6-1, 6-3; Aiko Nakamura bt Noppawan Lertcheewakarn 3-6, 6-3, 6-1; Tzipora Obziler bt Yuliana Fedak 6-2, 6-2.

At Paris (WTA Tour Open Gaz de France): First round: Martina Muller bt Agnieszka Radwanska 6-1, 6-0; Katarina Srebotnik bt Stephanie Cohen-Aloro 6-1, 6-4; Nathalie Dechy bt Tathiana Garbin 6-2, 6-3; Dinara Safina bt Michaella Krajicek 6-4, 7-5; Emilie Loit bt Eleni Daniilidou 7-6(7), 6-7(1), 6-4.

At Delray Beach (ATP Delray Beach International): Final: Xavier Malisse bt James Blake 5-7, 6-4, 6-4.

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