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Becker Ousts Past Finalist Verdasco In Brisbane

Brisbane, Australia

Benjamin Becker© Getty ImagesBenjamin Becker ousted Fernando Verdasco in first-round action.

German Benjamin Becker surprised third-seeded Spaniard Fernando Verdasco on Tuesday at the Brisbane International, defeating the 2009 finalist 6-1, 6-7(2), 6-3.

After Verdasco levelled the match at a set apiece, Becker raced to a 3-0 lead in the third before winning in two hours and 13 minutes. World No. 9 Verdasco managed to convert on just one of his seven break point chances.

The 53rd-ranked Becker improved to a 6-17 record against Top 10 players, including wins in three of his last four meetings. His last Top 10 win also came against Verdasco, last September in Bangkok.

“You always want to start with a win. That’s important to a lot of people so I’m glad that I got a win today and I’m looking forward to my second round,” said the 29-year-old German, who faces Colombian Santiago Giraldo next.

Watch Becker Interview | Watch Highlights

Top seed Robin Soderling opened his campaign with a straight forward 6-2, 6-4 win over 18-year-old Ryan Harrison in 66 minutes during the evening session. He next meets Michael Berrer. Watch Highlights

Soderling, who is now being coached by former ATP pro Claudio Pistolesi, said: “We have been working really well. We’ve tried to add a few things to my game. I won’t be changing anything as I am playing well.”

Czech Radek Stepanek, the 2009 champion and returning finalist at the ATP World Tour 250 tennis tournament (l. to Roddick), overcame 2010 Newcomer of the Year Tobias Kamke 5-7, 6-1, 6-4 in his opening match.

Fifth seed and defending champion Marcos Baghdatis dug himself out of a hole on day three when he beat Florent Serra of France 3-6, 7-5, 6-4 in two hours and 22 minutes. Watch Highlights

“It was a tough because he was playing really well at the beginning and I am still jetlagged, having arrived two days ago,” admitted Baghdatis.

“I fought in the second set and played a bit more aggressive. I served better and I took my chances. So I am very happy about that. In the third [set] I tried to keep calm because I knew that I was getting tired. I felt it at 3-2. I broke and then hit two double faults on the first two points at 4-2. He broke back, but I fought to the end.

“I think I need to play a bit more aggressive. That is the only thing I need to work on to play better here.”

After first-round losses in his previous two appearances, fourth seed Mardy Fish earned his first win in Brisbane as he took one hour and 18 minutes to defeat Frenchman Adrian Mannarino 6-1, 6-4.

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