Tennis

Berdych wins in Dubai

2011-02-21 23:15
Tomas Berdych (AFP)

Dubai - Third-seeded Tomas Berdych recovered from a slow start to beat Jeremy Chardy 6-2, 6-3 Monday in the first round of the Dubai Championships, and fifth-seeded Ivan Ljubicic was forced to retire with a leg injury against Ukrainian qualifier Sergei Bubka.

Berdych took advantage of Chardy's 40 unforced errors, recovering from a 2-1 deficit in the first set to take the next five games. In the second set, Berdych won six of the final seven games and 16 of the last 20 points.

"It was really solid," said Berdych, who has been recovering from the flu. "I was not really aiming for some special and extreme shots. Just try to be as consistent and patient and with not too many mistakes."

Bubka, the son of pole vaulting great Sergei Bubka, was leading 6-1, 0-1 when Ljubicic quit after being examined by a trainer for pain below the right knee but above the ankle.

"I couldn't push my serve a lot," Ljubicic said. "The start of the second set, I said, 'OK, I can't win like this,' so I just go 100 percent and see what happens. If it's painful, then I just stop. In fact it was, unfortunately."

The 342nd-ranked Bubka knew something was not right with Ljubicic during the first set.

"I could definitely see he's not playing even close to his best," Bubka said. "But I didn't think it was an injury. Yeah, I honestly didn't see that he's injured, but I knew that something was wrong with him."

Earlier, eighth-seeded Ernests Gulbis defeated German qualifier Michael Berrer 6-3, 6-4. Gulbis hit 10 aces and broke Berrer once in each set.

"It's the first win after a long time for me, because I skipped Rotterdam because I was sick, and in Marseille I didn't feel so well," the Latvian said. "I came here a bit early, on Thursday, and practiced hard and good. So I reach some kind of condition which I'm able to play good tennis."

Richard Gasquet of France also advanced, defeating Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria 6-2, 6-4. Also, Florian Mayer beat Finnish veteran Jarkko Nieminen 6-4, 6-2 and Philipp Petzschner downed Andreas Seppi of Italy 3-6, 7-6 (2), 6-2.

Gasquet benefited from a slew of unforced errors by Dimitrov.

"I know he can miss some easy shots. That's what he did at 4-all in the second set," Gasquet said. "He missed four easy forehands."

Top-seeded Roger Federer and second-seeded Novak Djokovic are scheduled to play Tuesday.

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