Shock first round defeat for Kuerten

Updated: 25 February 2007 08:28 IST

The tennis year of Gustavo Kuerten came crashing down after the three-time French Open champion was beaten 6-4, 6-4 by Thai Paradorn Srichaphan in the first rou

Shock first round defeat for Kuerten
©

Madrid: The tennis year of Gustavo Kuerten came crashing down after the three-time French Open champion was beaten 6-4, 6-4 by Thai Paradorn Srichaphan in the first round of the $2.95-million Masters Series today. Former world No. 1 Magnus Norman is showing a lot of heart at the 11th hour of the season. The 25-year-old Swede, who briefly topped the ATP Champions' Race two years ago when he reached the French Open final, battled back from a set down to outlast Argentina's Mariano Zabaleta 6-7 (2), 7-6 (4), 6-2 in the first round. Norman is coming off a year in which he struggled with a hip injury and spent much of the time trying to return to form after undergoing surgery in August last year. In other matches, Finland's Jarkko Nieminen was forced to a decisive tiebreak before advancing, beating Rainer Schuettler 1-6, 6-4, 7-6 (5). Marcelo Rios, another former world No. 1, dropped only four games as he breezed past Gaston Gaudio of Argentina 6-2, 6-2 in just 58 minutes. Fernando Gonzalez, one of the tour's hottest new stars, also had an easy time, beating Brazilian qualifier Andre Sa 6-3, 6-2 in just over an hour. Wimbledon finalist David Nalbandian of Argentina notched the fastest win of the day, whipping Spain's Francisco Clavet 6-1, 6-1 in 55 minutes. Fabrice Santoro beat Julien Boutter 6-3, 7-6 (4) in a match between two French qualifiers. Agustin Calleri of Argentina beat American James Blake 6-4, 6-2; Alex Corretja downed fellow Spaniard Fernando Vicente 6-4, 7-5; Mikhail Youzhny of Russia toppled Argentina's Juan Ignacio Chela 6-2, 6-2; Xavier Malisse of Belgium ousted Stefan Koubek of Austria, 6-2, 6-4; and Spain's Tommy Robredo beat Max Mirnyi of Belarus 6-4, 6-4. The Madrid tournament has the finest field ever assembled in Spain. US Open champion Pete Sampras, who is taking a break, and Wimbledon champion Lleyton Hewitt, who pulled out because of a virus, are the only top stars missing. Madrid replaced Stuttgart in the Tennis Masters Series - the most prestigious event after the four Grand Slams - after 11 years in the German city. This is the penultimate stop in the nine-tournament series that ends in Paris next week and the first indoors of the year. With just four weeks of the regular ATP season left, six berths at the season-ending Tennis Masters Cup next month in Shanghai are still to be decided. Hewitt, the defending champion, has already qualified along with Andre Agassi, the No. 2 seed here who made it to a season-ending finale for the 11th time by reaching the US Open title match. Tommy Haas is the top seed. (AP)
Topics : Tennis
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