Shock first round exit for Bhupathi-Knowles pair
MIAMI: World number ones Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams advanced to the third round of the ATP and WTA Miami hardcourt tournament on Saturday but Serbian third seed Jelena Jankovic was ousted.
Nadal dismissed 72nd-ranked Teimuraz Gabshvili of Russia 6-2, 6-2 while Serena, a two-time defending champion seeking her sixth title in eight years here, beat fellow American Alexa Glatch 6-2, 6-3.
“I’m very happy,” Nadal said. “I think Gabashvili didn’t really play a bad game. He played hard and I think I played well.”
The biggest shocker so far at the $9m event saw Argentina’s Gisela Dulko, ranked 35th in the world, eliminate Jankovic 6-4, 7-6(5) to set a third-round match-up against Czech Iveta Benesova.
Nadal seeks a third title this season after capturing the year’s Grand Slam start at the Australian Open and last week’s event at Indian Wells.
“I didn’t practice as well as I did in Indian Wells,” Nadal said. “More wind here. It’s more difficult to play but it is important to get the rhythm right with the match.”
Also advancing after first-round byes were reigning Wimbledon champion Venus Williams, the fifth seed, and British fourth seed Andy Murray.
Venus defeated Israel’s Shahar Peer 6-3, 6-3, to sustain hopes for an all-Williams semifinal while Murray, who reached last week’s final at Indian Wells, dispatched 59th-rated Juan Monaco of Argentina 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.
Nadal, who made just 10 unforced errors to 32 by Gabshvili, will next face Portugal’s Frederico Gil, who ousted Croatian Ivo Karlovic 6-4, 6-4. Nadal has found his form on hardcourts after his first Slam win on the surface in Melbourne.
“I play more on hard than other surfaces. It’s tougher on other surfaces,” Nadal said. “I played a little bit behind the court and on this court it’s important to play a little bit more inside.”
Murray needed a comeback to pull through.
Finding it difficult
“I was finding it difficult,” Murray said. “I don’t tend to think the match is finished when you lose the first set but I knew it was going to be tricky. He was playing very well. I was struggling a little bit to get into a rhythm.
“He was getting into a lot of rallies and hitting the ball better than me from the baseline. I knew I needed to change something. I started going for my serve more and won a lot of free points. My serve was really the difference.”
The Scotsman will next face Chile’s Nicolas Massu, who battled back to defeat Mardy Fish 5-7, 7-6(4), 6-2.
Serena booked a third-round date against China’s Peng Shuai while Venus will next face Germany’s Anna-Lena Gronenefeld, who defeated Italy’s 30th-seeded Sara Errani 6-4, 6-3.
Serena won her 10th Grand Slam title in January at the Australian Open and has three other semifinal runs this season. Improving to 48-5 at the event for her career, she shook off first-match nerves to defeat Glatch, 19.
“I played OK,” Serena said. “I definitely think I could have played better. Just a little jitters going out there.
“Alexa played well. She has a really good game,” Serena said. “She’s really young, so she has a bright future.”
Venus trailed 0-3 before fighting back to win 12 of the final 15 games against Peer and stretch her win streak to 11 matches, including titles at Dubai and Acapulco.
Mahesh Bhupathi and his Bahamian partner Mark Knowles made a shocking first round exit after losing to the unseeded French combine of Julien Benneteau and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga here.
Third seeded Bhupathi and Knowles squandered a one-set lead to go down 6-3, 5-7, 6-10.
However, the Indian challenge in the event remains alive with Leander Paes and Sania Mirza still in fray in men’s and women’s doubles respectively.
Sania, teaming up with Taipei partner Chia-Jung Chuang and Paes, with Czech Lukas Dlouhy, are through to the pre-quarters of their respective events.
The results (second round): Men: Igor Andreev bt Lu Yen-hsun 7-6(4), 6-3; Frederico Gil bt Ivo Karlovic 6-4, 6-4; Viktor Troicki bt David Nalbandian 6-1, 6-3; Feliciano Lopez bt Sam Querrey 6-7(5), 7-5, 6-2; Fernando Verdasco bt Benjamin Becker 6-3, 6-4; David Ferrer bt John Isner 6-3, 3-6, 6-2; Radek Stepanek bt Bobby Reynolds 7-5, 6-7(3), 6-2; Janko Tipsarevic bt Jurgen Melzer 6-4, 6-3; Andy Murray bt Juan Monaco 4-6, 6-3, 6-2; Stanislas Wawrinka bt Andreas Seppi 7-5, 7-5; Nicolas Massu bt Mardy Fish 5-7, 7-6(4), 6-2; Bjorn Phau bt Abert Montanes 6-4, 2-0, retd.; Fernando Gonzalez bt Igor Kunitsyn 6-4, 6-4; Marin Cilic bt Amer Delic 6-3, 6-7(7), 6-3; Rafael Nadal bt Teimuraz Gabashvili 6-2, 6-2; Juan Martin Del Potro bt Martin Vassallo Arguello 6-2, 6-2.
Doubles: First round: Julien Benneteau & Jo-Wilfried Tsonga bt Mahesh Bhupathi & Mark Knowles 3-6, 7-5, 10-6.
Women: Anabel Medina bt Alla Kudryavtseva 7-6(3), 6-4; Peng Shuai bt Mara Santangelo 7-5, 6-3; Alize Cornet bt Barbora Zahlavova Strycova 6-4, 7-6(4); Serena Williams bt Alexa Glatch 6-2, 6-3; Ekaterina Makarova bt Ai Sugiyama 6-3, 6-4; Li Na bt Aleksandra Wozniak 7-5, 6-3; Agnieszka Radwanska bt Tamarine Tanasugarn 4-6, 6-3, 6-2; Kaia Kanepi bt Maria Jose Martinez 4-6, 6-4, 7-5; Zheng Jie bt Julia Goerges 6-4, 6-2; Anna-Lena Groenefeld bt Sara Errani 6-4, 6-3; Nadia Petrova bt Michaella Krajicek 3-6, 6-4, 6-2; Iveta Benesova bt Sabine Lisicki 6-2, 6-4; Venus Williams bt Shahar Peer 6-3, 6-3; Vera Zvonareva bt Tathiana Garbin 6-4, 6-1; Dominika Cibulkova bt Karolina Sprem 6-4, 6-3; Gisela Dulko bt Jelena Jankovic 6-4, 7-6(5). — Agencies