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Tursunov Survives Early Scare; Santoro Advances

Eastbourne, Great Britain

Alex Bogdanovic© Getty ImagesAlex Bogdanovic will face No. 2 seed Dmitry Tursunov next.

Russian Dmitry Tursunov, the No. 2 seed, overcame a challenging first-round test against Italian Fabio Fognini 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 on Monday at the AEGON International, a combined ATP World Tour 250 and Sony Ericsson WTA Tour event contested on grass in Eastbourne.

Fognini, looking for his first match win on grass, levelled the score as he capitalised on all three of his break points in the second set, but Tursunov broke to go up 5-4 in the third set and served out the win in just under two hours.

Tursunov is making his fifth event appearance, and reached the semi-finals in 2007 when the tournament was held in Nottingham (l. to eventual champion Karlovic). The 26-year-old is looking to win conseuctive tour-level matches for the first time since winning the Metz title last October (d. Mathieu).

Fourth-seeded Frenchman Fabrice Santoro, who turned pro in 1989, improved to 37-30 lifetime on grass courts after defeating American Robert Kendrick 6-3, 6-2 to set up a second round meeting against Robby Ginepri at the AEGON International. Santoro recorded his first ATP World Tour win since March at ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Miami with victory in 53 minutes. The 36 year old has a 6-8 mark on the year.

Sixth-seeded American Sam Querrey, buoyed by confidence from a third round exit at The Queen’s Club last week to compatriot James Blake, hit 19 aces and beat Paul Capdeville of Chile 6-2, 7-5 in just 52 minutes. Querrey, who improved to 18-14 on the 2009 ATP World Tour season – highlighted by one runner-up finish at Auckland (l. to del Potro), will next face Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan.

Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, the eighth seed from Spain, was equally as dominant on serve in his first match. The World No. 50 hit 13 aces and broke Evgeny Korolev of Russia six times in a 6-2, 6-7(3), 6-2 victory in just over two hours.  Garcia-Lopez, who won 43 of 54 points on first serve, captured his first ATP World Tour title at Kitzbuhel (d. Benneteau) last month.

Three British players, who have received wild cards for The Championships at Wimbledon next week, Alex Bogdanovic (pictured), James Ward and Josh Goodall all won their opening matches at Devonshire Park, the venue of the ATP World Tour 250 tournament.

The 25-year-old Bogdanovic, who won three matches in the qualifying competition, recorded the ninth grass-court victory of his career over Ivo Minar 6-4, 7-6(3) in 75 minutes. It was his first ATP World Tour level win since June 2008 at Nottingham. Minar, currently No. 77 in the South African Airways 2009 ATP Rankings – 112 places above Bogdanovic – hit nine aces and saved five of seven break breaks.

Ward, a wild card entry, who lost to Marcos Baghdatis in The Queen’s Club first round last week, recorded his first ATP World Tour win. The World No. 224 struck nine aces and won 72 per cent of service points to beat Romanian Victor Crivoi 6-1, 6-3 in 53 minutes. Ward, 22, trained at Juan Carlos Ferrero’s Academy in Villena, Alicante until recently.

Wild card Goodall, snapped a 10-match losing streak at tour-level to record his first ATP World Tour win with a 6-4, 6-1 win over Japanese qualifier Tatsuma Ito in 62 minutes.

Also on Monday, four of Sussex’s best young tennis players were treated to a rare master class when Ivan Ljubicic and Jelena Jankovic took time out of their schedule to pass on world-class advice. Abbi Melrose, Sam Cissell, Sam Rice and Kyria Dunsford, four of the best 420 players for their age in the UK, are a part of the AEGON FutureStars program.

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