Seppi downs De Voest

2012-02-14 17:35

Rotterdam - Jarkko Nieminen and Andreas Seppi made fighting recoveries on Wednesday after playing in losing Davis Cup ties at the weekend with both advancing into the second round of the Rotterdam Open.

Finland's Nieminen, whose nation lost a European zonal tie against the Netherlands 5-0, battled 6-1, 6-7 (7/9), 7-5 past 151st-ranked Dutchman Igor Sijsling.

Seppi played and was beaten in a pair of singles rubbers during Italy's defeat by the Czech Republic in Ostrava, with the No 45 regaining some small pride by putting out South African qualifier Rik De Voest 1-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-2.

Seppi is playing the indoor event for the sixth time but has never been past the quarter-finals at the Ahoy stadium. The winner of his only career trophy last summer on grass at Eastbourne said that his Rotterdam victory was welcome.

"It was tough after the Davis Cup, I was a little bit down after that. He played well in the first set but I had a good second set.

"I had to get used to the court after clay at the weekend and he had two qualifying matches here already. I fought to the end and I'm happy to get through."

Seppi needed just under two hours to advance to his fourth win of the season against six losses after going down to De Voest in their only other meeting four years ago indoors at Zagreb.

Nieminen, who upset Spanish top five player David Ferrer in the first round a year ago, also came through in a struggle with unfancied crowd favourite Sijsling, the Dutch No 3 who had not played an ATP-level match since a Metz quarter-final nearly five months ago.

Nieminen swept the opening set but got into trouble in the second as the challenger saved a match point in the tie-breaker and finally levelled the sets at one each on a Nieminen forehand error.

The 30-year-old Finn took a 4-2 lead in the final set, only to see his opponent battle back with a break for 3-4, making the score 4-all with an ace.

Nieminen finally broke in the last game to seize the win and move into a match against Pole Lukasz Kubot.

The tournament field is headed by Roger Federer, playing for the first time since his title in 2005. Czech Tomas Berdych is seeded second ahead of Juan Martin del Potro with all of the leading three on court on Wednesday for first-round play.