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Davydenko Sets Ferrero Clash; Ferrer Survives Scare

Estoril, Portugal

David Ferrer© Getty ImagesDavid Ferrer dropped the first three games of the match but finished strong.

Russian Nikolay Davydenko set up a second round clash against another former Estoril Open champion, Juan Carlos Ferrero, after defeating Andrey Golubev of Kazakhstan 6-1, 7-6(4) in one hour and 36 minutes on Tuesday.

Davydenko, the 2003 titlist, improved to 14-5 at the ATP World Tour 250 clay-court tennis tournament by winning 60 per cent of service points and saving one of three break points in the pair’s first meeting. Golubev, 21, dropped to 1-4 in tour-level play this year in part due to six double faults and losing his serve five times.

The World No. 100 led Davydenko 4-1 in the second set before the top-ranked Russian fought back to record his eighth win of the year. Davydenko, a semi-finalist in Barcelona (l. to Nadal) two weeks ago, is competing at his sixth ATP World Tour tournament this year. He suffered a left heel injury at Chennai in January, which kept him from competing for two months.

Davydenko will next meet former World No. 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero, who holds a 2-1 record against the No. 11-ranked Russian. Ferrero, the 2001 winner, overcame Kazakhstani qualifier Mikhail Kukushkin 7-6(4), 6-3 on Centralito. Ferrero has an 11-6 record on the season, highlighted by winning his 12th title at Casablanca.

Spaniard David Ferrer gave Estoril Open Tournament Director Joao Lagos a fright in losing the first three games of his first-round clash against compatriot Daniel Gimeno-Traver.

The third-ranked Spaniard (behind Nadal and Verdasco), who is No. 14 in the South African Airways 2009 ATP Rankings, looked set to follow two-time former champion David Nalbandian out of the draw but managed to regroup and eventually closed out a 6-4, 6-1 win in 72 minutes on Central Court at the ATP World Tour 250 tennis tournament.

It was Ferrer’s first win at the Estadio Nacional, following opening-round losses in 2002 (l. to Safin) and 2003 (l. to Gonzalez). The 27 year old has reached two ATP World Tour finals this year at Dubai (l. to Djokovic) and Barcelona (l. to Nadal). He has a 24-10 season record, with a 9-3 mark on clay courts.

Ferrer will next meet another compatriot, Oscar Hernandez, in the second round. Ferrer won their only previous meeting in January 2008 at Auckland.

Spaniard Albert Montanes began his eighth ATP World Tour clay-court tournament of the 2009 season with a 6-1, 7-6(4) win over qualifier Ryan Sweeting of the United States in 75 minutes. The seventh seed improved to 8-8 on clay and 10-13 overall on the season. The World No. 35 reached the Casablanca semi-finals (l. to Serra), while No. 176-ranked Sweeting dropped to 1-4 in tour-level play.

Eighth-seeded Frenchman Florent Serra, who finished runner-up to Juan Carlos Ferrero in Casablanca last month, passed his opening test against Diego Junqueira of Argentina in a serve-dominated encounter with a 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 win in two hours and 10 minutes. Serra saved nine of 13 break point opportunities and Junqueira saved seven from 12. The 28-year-old Serra improved to 12-12 on the year.

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