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Tursunov Makes Successful Debut

Marseille, France

Dmitry TursunovYohan Brandt Dmitry Tursunov

ATP World No. 29 Dmitry Tursunov (pictured) of Russia enjoyed a successful debut at the Open 13 in Marseille as he rallied from a one-set deficit to defeat countryman Teimuraz Gabashvili 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 in the first round of the ATP World Tour 250 tennis tournament on Monday.

The 26-year-old Tursunov struck 11 aces and saved all five break points he faced in the one-hour, 40-minute match to improve to a 2-0 head-to-head record against Gabashvili, whom he also defeated at 2007 Indianapolis.

After four successive first round losses at the start of the season, Tursunov recorded his first ATP World Tour match win last week at the first ATP World Tour 500 tennis tournament of the season in Rotterdam (d. Clement, l. to Tsonga). He improves to a 2-5 match record.

Tursunov next faces eighth-seeded Spaniard Feliciano Lopez, who prevailed in a three-set opener against Croatian Ivan Ljubicic. World No. 28 Lopez broke the former Top 10 player for the third time during the match to earn the 3-6, 6-4, 7-5 victory in two hours and 10 minutes.

Lopez had lost in the first round of his previous three main draw appearances this season, including a five-set marathon against Luxembourg’s Gilles Muller at the Australian Open – the Spaniard fell 14-16 after four hours and 22 minutes. He had finished the 2008 season by winning his singles (d. No. 9 del Potro) and doubles matches (w/Verdasco) in the Davis Cup final to help lead Spain to the win over Argentina.

Fifth seed Tomas Berdych suffered a loss in his opening match for the third time this season, bowing out to Russian Mikhail Youzhny 6-4, 6-7(2), 6-1 in two hours and 22 minutes. Youzhny has now won four straight matches against the Czech, and leads the head-to-head series 5-2.

Former World No. 8 Youzhny, who currently stands at No. 62 in the South African Airways 2009 ATP Rankings, advanced to the quarter-finals last week at the ATP World Tour 500 tennis tournament in Rotterdam (l. to Ancic). It was his best showing since last July, when he reached the same stage at Gstaad. The Russian will look to reach the Marseille quarter-finals for the third straight year when he faces the winner between Italian Andreas Seppi and Polish qualifier Jerzy Janowicz.

Czech Jan Hernych set up a potential second round clash with World No. 3 Novak Djokovic after defeating Kristof Vliegen of Belgium 6-3, 3-6, 6-4. Two weeks ago in Zagreb, the 29-year-old Hernych reached an ATP World Tour semi-final (l. to Ancic) for the first time since June 2006 and is currently at No. 68 in the South African Airways 2009 ATP Rankings, just eight places down from his career best No. 60 (July 4, 2005). Having avoided a repeat of the first round Marseille exit (l. to Gasquet) he suffered in 2007, the right-hander improved to a 4-3 match record on the season.

 

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