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Blake Ousts Defending Champion Nalbandian

Washington D.C., U.S.A.

Nieminen© Getty ImagesNieminen notched his 300th career victory on Tuesday.

In a battle of former titlists in Washington D.C., James Blake dismissed defending champion David Nalbandian 6-2, 6-4 in a second-round clash at the Legg Mason Tennis Classic on Tuesday evening.

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The 2002 champion won 69 per cent of his service points and saved all three break points against his serve to clinch the upset in one hour and 13 minutes. Blake improved to a 2-0 record against Nalbandian after previously defeating the Argentine in the semi-finals of the year-end championships in 2006.

The win gives the 31 year old American back-to-back victories at an ATP World Tour event for the first time since reaching the third round at the Sony Ericsson Open (l. to Djokovic) in March.

Blake will take on 11th-seeded John Isner in the third round. The 6’ 9’’ American rolled past Tobias Kamke 6-1, 6-3, breaking the German twice in each set to take the match in one hour and six minutes.

No. 16 seed Jarkko Nieminen clinched his 300th career victory, defeating Igor Kunitsyn 7-5, 6-4. The Finn claimed 49 per cent of his return points, breaking the Russian four times to move on to the third round.

Nieminen, who turned pro in 2000, has finished inside the Top 100 for 10 consecutive seasons, and achieved his best ranking of No. 13 on 10 July, 2006. The 30 year old has advanced to 10 ATP World Tour finals, winning the title at Auckland in 2006.

American Ryan Harrison recovered from a mid-match lapse to defeat German Mischa Zverev 6-4, 1-6, 6-1 in a first-round meeting.

After winning just one point on return in the second set, the 19-year-old Harrison broke Zverev three times in the decisive set to close out the victory in one hour and 34 minutes. He next plays No. 3 seed Viktor Troicki, a finalist in 2008 at this ATP World Tour 500 tournament.

Harrison is looking to continue his strong start to the summer hard-court swing, after reaching back-to-back semi-finals in Atlanta and Los Angeles (l. to Fish both times). In two weeks, he has moved up 38 spots to a career-high No. 82 in the South African Airways 2011 ATP Rankings.

Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov squeaked past qualifier Tim Smyczek 4-6, 7-6(3), 7-6(3) in two hours and 39 minutes in his tournament debut. The 20 year old advances to play 10th seed Michael Llodra next.

Tommy Haas recorded his second win of the season, defeating lucky loser Amer Delic 6-2, 6-3. Haas won 92 per cent of his first serve points and broke Delic three times to lock up the win in one hour and three minutes.

In an all-American opener, Ryan Sweeting defeated Los Angeles semi-finalist Alex Bogomolov Jr. 6-2, 6-4 to earn a second-round meeting with top seed Gael Monfils.  

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Citi Open, Washington DC, James Blake

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