Davydenko brings Lopez back down to earth

ROTTERDAM - Russian second seed Nikolay Davydenko pulled off an impressive win over in-form Spaniard Feliciano Lopez here on Wednesday in the first round of the Rotterdam Open beating him 6-4, 6-2.

By (AFP)

Published: Thu 11 Feb 2010, 10:58 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 8:52 AM

Davydenko, a two-time semi-finalist here, was a surprisingly easy winner over Lopez, who arrived on the back of the second title of his career the South African Open last Sunday.

Davydenko took full advantage in his 75-minute victory, and will play Cyprus’ former Australian Open finalist Marcos Baghdatis after he came through in straight sets against American James Blake 6-4, 6-2.

“It’s tough to make the change from Africa to here,” said a sympathetic Davydenko, who ended 2009 with the year-end ATP title in London and began 2010 by landing the Qatar Open. “It was always going to be difficult for him (Lopez).

“I trained for four days here and the ball was hard for me to control from the baseline. It’s somehow much faster now.

“Lopez tried to play like he did last week in South Africa, I was surprised, but I knew it wouldn’t work. He also didn’t have enough preparation time (a day) to be able to play well on a new surface.”

Davydenko had a poor record against the Spaniard, losing four of their previous five matches but winning their most recent last spring in Barcelona.

Fourth-seeded Frenchman Gael Monfils, up half the night feeling ill and feeling the need to document his sorry state on Twitter, scraped through with a 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 win over Olivier Rochus.

But Monfils, world ranked 13, denied that he should be wary of giving constant updates lest his information be used by gamblers.

“I love to play tennis but I don’t think about it much off the court,” said Monfils, who failed to justify his number one seeding in South Africa as he exited in the semi-finals.

“I’m a 23-year-old person. What we do off court with Twitter or Facebook - it’s private life. I don’t even know all of the rules of tennis, I just play.”

Monfils tweeted on Tuesday evening that he was feeling poorly a day prior to his opening match at the Ahoy stadium, then came back online at 1 am saying he could not sleep.

But despite a slow start, he managed to earn only his second win over Rochus, who held a career 3-1 lead over the Frenchman.

Monfils overcame his sickly feeling with 19 aces and six breaks of the Belgian in 1hour, 43 minutes to next play Dutch youngster Thiemo de Bakker, who beat him in a Davis Cup match last autumn.

I felt so-so on court,” said Monfils, now 4-2 in his third Rotterdam appearance.

“He played well in the first set, I was trying to get into the match. I took more risks to try for the win. I stayed calm and found a solution.

“I certainly didn’t feel 100 percent, I tried to train last night but felt a fever. It was a big change from South Africa and 30 Celsius to minus-five here. I’m still sick but I hope to wake up better each day.”

Austrian Jurgen Melzer put out eighth seed Viktor Troicki when the Serb retired trailing 6-3, 3-0 with a right arm injury.

Zagreb finalist Michael Berrer of Germany won a massive first-set tiebreaker as he completed a victory over Frances Arnaud Clement 7-6 (18-16), 4-6, 6-4.

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