Matthias Bachinger

Rotterdam Results & Exclusive Photos: Federer, Del Potro, Baghdatis

It was a thrilling day in Rotterdam as the top three seeds, including Roger Federer, Tomas Berdych and Juan Martin del Potro all claimed a spot in the second round of the ABN Amro World Tennis Tournament, including a first ever win for del Potro at this event – but not without some drama.

Top seed Roger Federer picked up where he left off seven years ago, as the 2005 champion won 13 of the last 14 points with his win over Frenchman Nicolas Mahut, 6-4, 6-4. Federer’s expected second round opponent Mikhail Youzhny withdrew with a foot problem sending the Swiss straight into the quarterfinals on Friday against Jarkko Nieminen, who beat Lukasz Kubot earlier in the day.

“Any win is a good win,” stated Federer. “Frankly I’m glad to be in the quarterfinals. It’s always tough to make the change from clay but after losing my last two singles matches [for Davis Cup], a win is great.”

For more exclusive Roger Federer content on his top three grand slam wins, mental strength, his toughest opponent, and thoughts on retirement, go here.

Second seed Tomas Berdych also had a routine win over fellow Czech countryman Lukas Rosol, 6-4, 6-2. Berdych also didn’t shy away from admitting it was “a tough transition from Davis Cup. Our court was much faster with lower bounce. I didn’t really have much time to train, but I coped with it pretty well. I was able to find my rhythm quite fast and was able to play my game.”

Juan Martin del Potro struggled to close out the second set in a tiebreaker and was forced to win in three, against 2008 champion Michael Llodra, 6-4, 6-7(3), 6-4. “I was really nervous, especially in the last game, so it was nice”, Del Potro said durin his interview. He underlined that he was very pleased to be in Rotterdam and to see so many people coming out to support him.

Cheerful Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis (looking surprisingly great in Adidas’ lastest fireball orange and blue kits, below) defeated qualifier Matthias Bachinger, 7-6(2), 6-2.

Nikolay Davydenko was also take to three sets before overcoming the “comeback kid” Paul-Henri Mathieu who had received a wildcard into the qualifying. After two-and-a-half hours of play into the evening hours, Davydenko prevailed, 6-4, 6-7(7), 6-1.

But another qualifier, Karol Beck, made a commotion as he took out Philipp Petzschner, 7-6(3), 6-3.

Alex Bogomolov, Jr. won when Sergiy Stakhovsky was forced to retire.

In doubles action, top seed Max Mirnyi and Daniel Nestor were ousted by Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez, while  the tandem of Richard Gasquet and Ivan Ljubicic  were defeated, as was the duo of Viktor Troicki and Jarkko Nieminen.

Catch all the action this week and follow professional tennis photographer Rick Gleijm as he covers ATP Tour’s ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam. The gallery below includes day three action, and the Davydenko-Mathieu match was shot with a 200mm f/2 lens Canon Nederland provided to our photographe Rick for the match. The photos are of the highest quality. Thank you, Canon!

(All photos © Rick Gleijm)

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Marat Safin Beats Defending Champion Nikolay Davydenko

MOSCOW

Born in Moscow but representating Germany, Mischa Zverev advanced to his first career ATP Tour semifinal (6th quarterfinal’s attempt) in dramatic fashion. Zverev was losing to Vicotr Troicki 1:5 in the third set but managed to win 6 consecutive games, attacking at the net almost at every opportunity. The German saved two match points with service winners at 1:5 and was 4 times two points away from defeat at 4:5 on Troicki’s serve.

The other Moscow-born player Marat Safin ousted the defending champion Nikolay Davydenko 7-6(5) 4-6 6-4 after 2 hours 28 minutes. Davydenko was serving to win the first set at 6:5 and was two points away from taking the set in the tie-break. Decisive break in the third set came in the 5th game when Davydenko lost his serve despite 40-0 up.

STOCKHOLM

Top-seeded David Nalbandian and two-time Stockholm finalist Jarkko Nieminen have each won their  matches against Spanish opponents, dropping just 5 games. Nieminen had very promising start of the year but since Australian Open hasn’t won 3 matches in a tournament.

Mario Ancic withdrew prior to the match against Kei Nishikori due to acute bronchitis. Ancic has been health problems from the beginning of the week.

Robin Soderling served 13 aces in straight sets victory over Rainer Schuettler.

VIENNA

Former Vienna’s champion Feliciano Lopez disappointed local fans beating Jurgen Melzer 4-6 6-3 6-4. Lopez had only two break points in the match and converted both of them.

Philipp Kohlschreiber playing his first tournament since US Open, advanced to the semifinal after easy win over Fernando Verdasco. Kohlschreiber during the week has dropped only 9 games (4 in the 1st round, 5 against Verdadco). Kohlschreiber’s countryman Petzschner reached first ATP semifinal after 6-4 6-2 over Carlos Moya in the late match.

Moscow – Quarterfinals

(7)Marat Safin (RUS) d. (1)Nikolay Davydenko (RUS) 7-6(5) 4-6 6-4

Michael Zverev (GER) d. Viktor Troicki (SRB) 6-4 3-6 7-5 – 2 M.P.

Fabrice Santoro (FRA) d. (4)Paul-Henri Mathieu 6-3 2-0 ret.

Igor Kunitsyn (RUS) d. Jeremy Chardy (FRA) 6-4 6-2

Stockholm – Quarterfinals

(1)David Nalbandian (ARG) d. (7)Albert Montanes (ESP) 6-4 6-1

(3)Jarkko Nieminen (FIN) d. Oscar Hernandez 6-1 6-4

(4)Robin Soderling (SWE) d. (5)Rainer Schuettler (GER) 6-2 7-5

(WC)Kei Nishikori (JPN) d. (2)Mario Ancic (CRO) w/o

Vienna – Quarterfinals

(q)Philipp Petzschner (GER) d. Carlos Moya (ESP) 6-4 6-2

Feliciano Lopez (ESP) d. Jurgen Melzer (AUT) 4-6 6-3 6-4

Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) d. (5)Fernando Verdasco (ESP) 6-2 6-3

(8)Gael Monfils (FRA) d. (2)Fernando Gonzalez (CHI) 6-3 7-6(2)

David Nalbandian Sails To The Next With Easy Win Over Pim-Pim

MOSCOW

Moscow champion from year 2005, Igor Andreev lost his second round match against Jeremy Chardy despite comfortable leading 6-3 5:2 (40-30). 21 year-old Frenchman has reached second quarterfinal this year.
Also tight match won another Frenchman (Moscow champion 2002, last year’s finalist) Paul-Henri Mathieu who needed 2 hours 48 minutes to beat Dudi Sela 6-7(3) 7-5 7-6(0).

The tournament has been dominated by the French and Russian players. Beside mentioned two players from France a place in the last eight booked their compatriot Fabrice Santoro and three players from Russia (Davydenko, Safin and Kunitsyn). Russian number 1 Nikolay Davydenko smashed Guilermo Garcia-Lopez in just 55 minutes and almost secured himself a spot in year-ending Masters Cup.

STOCKHOLM

David Nalbandian finished Pim-Pim’s comeback on ATP circuit with surprisingly easy win 6-3 6-2. The match was equaled till 3:3 in the first set with a little optical advantage of the Swede who had 30-0 on Nalbandian’s serve twice. Since the 7th game of the first set Nalbandian overwhelmed his opponent breaking his huge serve three times.

Two Spaniards, clay-court specialists, Albert Montanes and Oscar Hernandez have reached indoor’s quarterfinal for the first time in career. They both lost easily first set to win without bigger problems two another sets.

One of the promising stars, 18 year-old Kei Nishikori of Japan, was two points away from losing his match against veteran Dominik Hrbaty at 4:5 in the third set. In the previous game the Japanese had triple break point. “I just concentrated on keeping my serve,” Nishikori said. “I’m glad that I did not go down after failing to break his serve from 0-40. The next game was difficult.” Hrbaty, former no. 12 in the world (now rank. 396) hasn’t reached an ATP quarterfinal from one and a half year.

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VIENNA

Ernests Gulbis proved once again that has big potential to play on a very high level but has problems with concentration in the most important moments as well. Young Latvian wasted 5 match poins in the tie-break (6:4, 7:6, 9:8, 11:10) of the second set against Fernando Gonzalez. Gulbis has already lost four matches this year being one or two points away from vicotry (against Davydenko, Nalbandian, Acasuso and Gonzalez).
Juan Martin del Potro withdrew from the match against Philipp Kohlschreiber. It wasn’t a surprising decision in view of Del Potro’s previous tough match which was preceded by long flight from Tokyo where Del Potro had played a final last Sunday. Tired Argentinian has officially withdrew due to injury of his right big toe.

Moscow – Second Round

(1)Nikolay Davydenko (RUS) vs Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (ESP) 6-1 6-1
(7)Marat Safin (RUS) d. Julien Benneteau (FRA) 6-4 0-6 6-2
Michael Zverev (GER) d. Teimuraz Gabashvili (RUS) 6-2 2-6 6-1
Viktor Troicki (SRB) vs (8)Janko Tipsarevic (SRB) 6-3 6-4
Fabrice Santoro (FRA) d. (q)Denis Istomin (UZB) 6-2 6-4
(4)Paul-Henri Mathieu (FRA) d. Dudi Sela (ISR) 6-7(3) 7-5 7-6(0)
Igor Kunitsyn (RUS) d. Robby Ginepri (USA) 6-4 6-3
Jeremy Chardy (FRA) d. (2)Igor Andreev (RUS) 3-6 7-5 6-4 – 1 M.P.

Stockholm – Second Round

(1)David Nalbandian (ARG) d. (WC)Joachim Johansson (SWE) 6-3 6-2
(7)Albert Montanes (ESP) d. (q)George Bastl (SUI) 1-6 6-3 6-2
(3)Jarkko Nieminen (FIN) d. Arnaud Clement (FRA) 6-4 6-7(5) 6-2
Oscar Hernandez (ESP) d. (6)Jose Acasuso (ARG) 2-6 6-3 6-4
(5)Rainer Schuettler (GER) d. Nicolas Lapentti (ECU) 7-6(6) 6-3
(4)Robin Soderling (SWE) d. (LL)Juan Monaco (ARG)  6-3 6-3
(WC)Kei Nishikori (JPN) d. Dominik Hrbaty (SVK) 6-1 1-6 7-5
(2)Mario Ancic (CRO) d. Steve Darcis (BEL) 7-6(4) 6-4

Vienna – Second Round

(q)Philipp Petzschner (GER) d. (q)Jan Hernych (CZE) 6-3 6-4
Carlos Moya (ESP) d. Eduardo Schwank (ARG) 6-2 6-3
Jurgen Melzer (AUT) d. Juan Carlos Ferrero (ESP)  7-6(4) 6-3
Feliciano Lopez (ESP) d. (LL)Santiago Giraldo (COL) 7-6(5) 6-3
(5)Fernando Verdasco (ESP) d. Guillermo Canas (ARG) 6-1 6-2
Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) d. (3)Juan Martin del Potro (ARG) w/o
(8)Gael Monfils (FRA) d. Radek Stepanek (CZE) 6-4 6-3
(2)Fernando Gonzalez (CHI) d. Ernests Gulbis (LAT) 4-6 7-6(11) 6-1 – 5 M.P.

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Marat Safin Notches 400th Win

MOSCOW

Marat Safin has notched 400th win in professional career beating 7-6(5) 3-6 6-4 Noam Okun of Israel. Safin places on 8th position among active players  who have won the most matches in ATP Tour. Safin ended the match in bizarre fashion thinking that broke Okun’s serve to lead 6:5 in the third. He had gone to his chair before realised that won the match.

Nikolay Davydenko has extended the number of consecutive wins in Moscow to 11, after a routine win (6-1 7-5) over Florent Serra. Two-time defending champion Davydenko lost only one set in those 11 matches (against Safin two years ago in the final).

The biggest surprise of the first round was made by Uzbek Denis Istomin overcoming 7-6(2) 6-3 Mickael Llodra. It was Istomin’s first ATP win since Australian Open. Apart from Aussie Open, Istomin had won earlier matches only on lower levels and in Davis Cup.

STOCKHOLM

The first round produced mixing emotions for the home crowd. After 17 years on the Tour the last singles match in professional career played Jonas Bjorkman. The Swede who debuted in Stockholm in 1992, lost in straight sets (2-6 4-6) to “lucky loser” Juan Monaco.”I felt I could have played a lot better than I did because I was playing well during practice during the last weeks.” said Bjorkman who will play in doubles till the end of the regular season.

On the other hand fellow Swede – Joachim “Pim-Pim” Johansson dignified with a win his comeback to ATP circuit after 12 months’ break. Johansson beat Nicolas Mahut 7-5 7-6(5) serving 20 aces at 75% of 1st serves in. “I didn’t feel anything on my shoulder” said 26 year-old Pim-Pim who officialy retired from professional sport at the beginning of 2008.

Juan Acasuso has won for the second time in 2008 a match from extremely difficult position. The Argentinian who beat Gulbis in Toronto being 1:5 in the deciding set, this time overcome a qualifier from Germany – Matthias Bachinger 7-6(5) 3-6 7-6(4) despite match point down at 2:5 in the third set.

VIENNA

In contrary to Joachim Johansson, Stefan Koubek hadn’t a promising comeback to ATP after 6 months injury-break. The Austrian lost 1-6 2-6 to 10 years younger “lucky loser” Santiago Giraldo. It was Giraldo’s first ATP match at the European indoor. After the match Koubek said he wants to play as many matches as possible to the end of the season and rebuild his form on the practice sessions in off-season in December.
Feliciano Lopez has won first ATP match after losing 6 in a row, beating in two tie-breaks Agustin Calleri.
Stanislas Wawrinka and Gilles Simon, Masters Cup contenders, have cutted down chances to qualify to Shanghai. Both players lost in the first round 6-7(5) in the third set (Wawrinka lost to qualifier Petzschner, Simon to Schwank).

Their stumble creates Shanghai hopes for Fernando Gonzalez. The Chilean, 11th in the ATP Race revenged Simone Bolelli for bitter Wimbledon’s loss beating the Italian 4-6 7-6(2) 6-2. They have met each other 4 times and 9 out of 13 sets have finished in the tie-breaks (Gonzalez leads 3-1 in Head to head; Bolelli leads 5-4 in the tie-breaks).

The revelation of the last couple of months – Juan Martin del Potro was struggling in two tie-break sets with unkown Austrian “wild card” Martin Fisher (No. 219). Del Potro saved set point in the first set tie-break (at 6:7) and was two points away from losing the second tie-break when Fisher was serving at 5:4. It was first indoor match for the Argentinian this year.

Moscow – First round

(1)Nikolay Davydenko (RUS) d. Florent Serra (FRA) 6-1 7-5
Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (ESP) d. Nicolas Devilder (FRA) 6-2 6-4
Julien Benneteau (FRA) d. (q)Harel Levy (ISR) 6-4 6-3
(7)Marat Safin (RUS) d. (q)Noam Okun (ISR) 7-6(5) 3-6 6-4
Teimuraz Gabashvili (RUS) d. (3)Mikhail Youzhny (RUS)  7-5 4-6 7-6(1)
Michael Zverev (GER) d. Denis Gremelmayr (GER) 6-3 7-6(7)
Viktor Troicki (SRB) d. (WC)Evgeny Donskoy (RUS) 6-1 6-3
(8)Janko Tipsarevic (SRB) d. (WC)Alexandre Koudriavtsev (RUS) 4-6 6-3 7-6(6)
(q)Denis Istomin (UZB) d. (6)Michael Llodra (FRA) 7-6(2) 6-3
Fabrice Santoro (FRA) d. (WC)Yuri Schukin (KAZ) 4-6 7-6(2) 6-4
Dudi Sela (ISR) d. Victor Hanescu (ROU) 6-3 3-6 6-2
(4)Paul-Henri Mathieu (FRA) d. Sergey Stakhovsky (UKR) 6-3 6-2
Igor Kunitsyn (RUS) d. (LL)Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ) 6-1 4-6 6-1
Robby Ginepri (USA) d. (q)Jiri Vanek (CZE) 6-3 6-4
Jeremy Chardy (FRA) d. Potito Starace (ITA) 3-6 6-1 6-4
(2)Igor Andreev (RUS) d. Yen-Hsun Lu (TPE) 2-0 ret.

Stockholm – First round

(1)David Nalbandian (ARG) d. Bobby Reynolds (USA) 6-1 6-1
(WC)Joachim Johansson (SWE) d. Nicolas Mahut (FRA)  7-5 7-6(5)
(q)George Bastl (SUI) d. (q)Frederik Nielsen (DEN)  7-6(6) 3-6 7-6(4)
(7)Albert Montanes (ESP) d. Thomas Johansson (SWE) 6-3 4-6 6-3
(3)Jarkko Nieminen (FIN) d. Thomaz Bellucci (BRA) 6-7(5) 6-3 7-5
Arnaud Clement (FRA) d. (q)Bjorn Rehnquist (SWE) 6-2 6-1
Oscar Hernandez (ESP) d. Ivo Minar (CZE) 6-4 6-3
(6)Jose Acasuso (ARG) d. (q)Matthias Bachinger (GER) 7-6(5) 3-6 7-6(4) – saved 1 M.P.
(5)Rainer Schuettler (GER) d. Chris Guccione (AUS) 6-0 6-3
Nicolas Lapentti (ECU) d. Ivan Navarro-Pastor (ESP) 3-6 7-6(7) 7-5
(LL)Juan Monaco (ARG) d. (WC)Jonas Bjorkman (SWE)  6-2 6-4
(4)Robin Soderling (SWE) d. Benjamin Becker (GER) 7-5 6-3
(WC)Kei Nishikori (JPN) d. (8)Marcel Granollers (ESP) 2-6 6-4 6-2
Dominik Hrbaty (SVK) d. Pablo Andujar (ESP) 6-2 6-1
Steve Darcis (BEL) vs Christophe Rochus (BEL) 2-6 6-3 6-3
(2)Mario Ancic (CRO) d. Olivier Rochus (BEL) 7-6(6) 6-2

Vienna – First Round

(q)Philipp Petzschner (GER) d. (1)Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI)  6-7(5) 6-2 7-6(5)
(q)Jan Hernych (CZE) d. Roko Karanusic (CRO) 4-6 6-4 7-6(5)
Carlos Moya (ESP) d. Michael Berrer (GER) 7-6(5) 7-6(6)
Eduardo Schwank (ARG) d. (7)Gilles Simon (FRA)  4-6 7-5 7-6(5)
Juan Carlos Ferrero (ESP) d. (4)Ivo Karlovic (CRO) 6-4 7-6(4)
Jurgen Melzer (AUT) d. Ivan Ljubicic (CRO) 7-6(3) 6-3
Feliciano Lopez (ESP) d. Agustin Calleri (ARG) 7-6(2) 7-6(4)
(LL)Santiago Giraldo (COL) d. (WC)Stefan Koubek (AUT) 6-1 6-2
(5)Fernando Verdasco (ESP) d. (q)Victor Crivoi (ROU) 6-4 6-4
Guillermo Canas (ARG) d. Andreas Seppi (ITA) 7-6(2) 6-3
Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) d. Marc Gicquel (FRA)  6-2 6-2
(3)Juan Martin del Potro (ARG) vs (WC)Martin Fischer (AUT) 7-6(7) 7-6(5)
(8)Gael Monfils (FRA) vs (WC)Alexander Peya (AUT) 3-6 6-1 6-3
Radek Stepanek (CZE) d. (q)Pavel Snobel (CZE) 6-4 6-2
Ernests Gulbis (LAT) d. Filippo Volandri (ITA) 6-2 6-3
(2)Fernando Gonzalez (CHI) vs Simone Bolelli (ITA) 4-6 7-6(2) 6-2