Melbourne - Spain's Feliciano Lopez beat
off jet-lag to open the Kooyong Classic with a 6-7 (4/7), 6-4, 11-9 comeback
win over an injury-hampered Gilles Simon on Tuesday.
Frenchman Simon, the world number 15,
appeared to be carrying an abdominal injury during a contest in which Lopez had
to save four match points.
Lopez, ranked 19th in the world, started
his ATP season with a first-round defeat last week in Doha, and complained of
jet-lag having only arrived in Melbourne at the weekend for the Australian Open
"I have big jet-lag in my body right
now," the 33-year-old said. "I'm looking forward to playing better on
Friday in my second match.
"I've always said this is the best
preparation for the Open. The courts and conditions are the same -- even the
wind is there. It's great be back in Australia and playing again."
Simon took 50 minutes to win the opening
set, but appeared to be struggling physically in the second.
Lopez finally secured a break on his
seventh opportunity for a 2-1 lead, but lost it in the sixth game to go 3-3.
Simon dropped serve a game later with Lopez squaring the match after the
The tiebreak third set featured various
momentum shifts, as Simon took a 5-1 lead. But Lopez fought back to 4-7.
The Spaniard then saved a quartet of Simon
match points before closing out the win as the Frenchman landed a return out.
"I could tell he was having some
problems, it's always difficult to play against an injured opponent,"
Lopez said. "You just hope that you react well."
Later Spaniard Nicolas Almagro takes on
Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu at an event expanded this year to a dozen players.
In a third opening day contest, Australian
Open wildcard, local hope Omar Jasika, faces fellow young hopeful Hyeon Chung
of South Korea.