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Top Seed Haas Upset; Korolev Regroups To Win Opener

Delray Beach, U.S.A.

Odesnik© Alese PechterAmerican Wayne Odesnik wins his first-round match.

Russian Teimuraz Gabashvili stunned top seed and past champion Tommy Haas 7-6(3), 7-5 on opening day at the Delray Beach International Tennis Championships, an ATP World Tour 250 hard-court tennis tournament.

Haas created 15 break points to Gabashvili’s five, but took advantage of just three of those chances, whereas his 104th-ranked opponent enjoyed an 80 per cent conversion rate. Coming into Delray Beach, Gabashvili had not won a tour-level match since last October at his hometown tournament in Moscow.

World No. 19 Haas, a winner on his tournament debut in 2006 (d. Malisse), was attempting to become the second top seed to clinch the Delray Beach title. Last year, American Mardy Fish had become the first top seed to triumph in the tournament’s 17-year history. 

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Fifth seed Evgeny Korolev of Kazakhstan recovered from a mid-match lapse earlier Monday to defeat Ecuador’s Nicolas Lapentti 6-2, 1-6, 6-1. The 22 year old won just six service points in the second set, but came back strong in the third as he dropped six points behind his serve and converted his two break point chances to close out the win in one hour and 27 minutes.

Korolev made an unexpected run to his first tour-level final last year in Delray Beach, winning seven straight matches – including three in the qualification rounds – before falling to Fish in the final.

In an all-American first-round match, Wayne Odesnik defeated Rajeev Ram 6-3, 6-2 in one hour and 19 minutes. Odesnik saved all four break points faced on serve while capitalising on three of his four opportunities to earn his first win in four main draw appearances at his home state tournament.

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