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Rochus Returns To Complete Victory; Ljubicic Advances

Belgrade, Serbia

Christophe Rochus© Getty ImagesChristophe Rochus resumed his Monday match and chalked up a win.

Belgian No. 8 seed Christophe Rochus was the first player to advance in the inaugural Serbian Open 2009 main draw when he returned on Tuesday to close out a 6-3, 6-7(7), 7-5 victory over Frenchman Nicolas Devilder. Rain had halted the match at 5-5 in the deciding set on Monday at the ATP World Tour 250 tennis tournament in Belgrade.

In a match featuring 12 breaks of serve, Rochus converted seven of 21 break point chances and saved 11 of 16 break points on his own serve to prevail in one minute shy of three hours of play.

The top Belgium, at No. 59 in the South African Airways 2009 ATP Rankings, improved to a 10-12 match record on the season. The 30 year old enjoyed success on hard court earlier in the season when he reached the quarter-finals in Memphis (l. to Hewitt) followed by a semi-final appearance in Delray Beach (l. to Korolev).

No. 5 seed Viktor Troicki delighted Serbian tennis fans as he rallied from a one-set deficit to knock out American Sam Querrey 4-6, 6-4, 6-3. The Belgrade native lost serve once to concede the first set before hitting back with four breaks of serve to win the next two sets and clinch victory after one hour and 57 minutes.

The 23-year-old Troicki is, this week, just two places down on his career-high South African Airways ATP Ranking of No. 36. The right-hander reached the semi-finals at Zagreb (l. to Cilic) and was a quarter-finalist at Auckland (l. to del Potro), while also winning an ATP Challenger Tour event in Belgrade (d. Hrbaty). He has a 13-11 match record on the season.

Troicki next will take on Marcel Granollers, survived a second-set scare before prevailing 6-0, 2-6, 6-2 against 17-year-old Serbian wild card Filip Krajinovic. The 23-year-old Spaniard, who has fallen from a career-high No. 44 in February to No. 97 in the South African Airways 2009 ATP Rankings, reached the semi-finals in Chennai (l. to Cilic) at the start of the year but has since failed to win back-to-back matches in 11 successive tour-level events.

Another Belgrade native, Janko Tipsarevic, set up an all-Serbian showdown with World No. 3 Novak Djokovic after dismissing Argentine Sergio Roitman 7-5, 6-2. Djokovic won the only previous meeting between the two players, rallying from a set-deficit to defeat Tipsarevic last year at the Queen's Club. The 24-year-old Tipsarevic has a 6-17 record against Top 10 players, most recently defeating World No. 10 Gael Monfils in his first-round match at ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Monte-Carlo last month. 

Seventh-seeded Frenchman Arnaud Clement converted five of eight break points as he cruised past Santiago Ventura 6-1, 6-4. The former Top 10 player (No. 10 – April 2001) won an ATP Challenger Tour title in Cherbourg (d. Ascione) in March, but has not reached an ATP World Tour quarter-final or better since Wimbledon last year when he came in ranked No. 145 and reached the last eight (l. to Schuettler 8-6 in fifth set) at the grass-court Grand Slam. He next will face either wild card Marcos Baghdatis or qualifier Flavio Cipolla.

Croatia’s Ivan Ljubicic, the No. 6 seed, battled into the second round with a 7-6(2), 3-6, 6-4 win over Romanian qualifier Victor Crivoi in two hours and 23 minutes. Ljubicic, who fired 17 aces during the match, saved five break points faced on serve in the decisive set while converting on one of his three opportunities.

The 30-year-old Ljubicic, a former World No. 3, is currently No. 53 in the South African Airways 2009 ATP Rankings. He has an 11-9 season record, highlighted by quarter-final finishes at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tennis tournaments in Indian Wells (l. to Murray) and Monte-Carlo (l. to Nadal).

 

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