TENNIS

Ferrer safely through to third round Down Under

Verdasco and Almagro also win their matches

David Ferrer celebrates his win over American Tim Smyczek in the second round of the Australian Open. / MARK DADSWELL  (EFE )

David Ferrer was among the Spaniards successfully negotiating the second round of the Australian Open on Wednesday.

The number four seed overwhelmed his American opponent Tim Smyczek in the first set to take a 6-0 lead in just 25 minutes.

Smyczek fought back with renewed energy to take the third set, but Ferrer quelled his opponent’s resurgence to win the match 6-0, 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 in two hours and 38 minutes.

Ferrer will play his third-round tie on Friday against Marcos Baghdatis, who overcame Japan’s Tatsuma Ito in his round two match.

Also on the fast track was Fernando Verdasco, seeded 22nd, who disposed of veteran Belgian Xavier Malisse in straight sets, 6-1, 6-3, 6-2, on Wednesday night with a total of 31 winners.

For Verdasco, this year’s tournament is offering the chance to make up for his disappointing first-round defeat to Australia’s Bernard Tomic in 2012. Verdasco will play his third-round game against South African Kevin Anderson, who beat Russia’s Andrey Kuznetsov in a three-set match earlier on Wednesday.

Also taking a straight-sets win in the second round was 10th seed Nicolás Almagro with a 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 victory against compatriot Daniel Gimeno-Traver. Almagro hit almost twice as many winners as his rival to take a first-set lead. But Gimeno-Traver failed to put up much of a fight after a leg injury forced him to leave the court for a medical timeout.

Among the other Spaniards knocked out at the second-round stage was Roberto Bautista Agut, who battled hard to keep pace with Austria’s Jürgen Melzer, losing 6-7, 6-3, 6-7, 6-3, 6-2.

Meanwhile, Feliciano López also proved vulnerable against the torrent of serves raining down on him from Czech Radek Stepanek, who cruised to a 6-2, 6-2, 6-4 straight-sets win.

In the first round, 26-year-old Marcel Granollers managed to eventually get the better of Slovenian opponent Grega Zemlja with a close 7-6, 7-6, 1-0 victory. Granollers also won his men’s double match with Marc López against German duo Dustin Brown and Christopher Kas, 6-2, 3-6, 7-6.

Women’s singles

In the women’s draw, world number 33 Carla Suárez Navarro managed to uproot Italian seventh seed Sara Errani 6-4, 6-4 in her first-round match. While both players struggled to take control with a relatively equal number of unforced errors, Suárez Navarro grabbed the lead by hitting 28 winners to Errani’s 12.

Carla Suárez Navarro’s best Australian Open result was in 2009, when at the age of just 20, she reached the quarterfinals after beating Venus Williams in the second round. This is her fifth Australian Open.

Carla Suárez Navarro also won her women’s doubles tie with Silvia Soler-Espinosa, claiming a straight-sets victory against American Bethanie Mattek-Sands and India’s Sania Mirza, 7-6, 6-3.

Garbiñe Muguruza took down the higher-ranked Slovakian Magdalena Rybarikova with a 4-6, 6-11, 4-12 win after a marathon two-hour third set. It was a first victory at the Australian Open for the Spanish youngster, who on Thursday will face an even sterner test in the form of third seed Serena Williams. Spectators will be watching closely to see if Williams’ tumble in round one has caused any lasting problems that could have an impact on her game. If so, 19-year-old Muguruza, who only turned pro in 2011, could find herself in a similar situation to last year’s Australian Open, where an ankle injury saw the American lose to 56th-ranked Russian Ekaterina Makarova in the fourth round.

Also winning in the women’s doubles was Arantxa Parra Santonja who with Japanese partner Kimiko Date-Krumm knocked out Spanish duo Lara Arruabarrena-Vecino and Lourdes Domínguez Lino in straight sets, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.

 

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