Big pedigree players like Nalbandian, Clement, Malisse and Haas progress on the same day that Fernando González retires after double faulting in the tie break against Mahut.
The first round of the Miami tournament, which is held in the Crandon Park Tennis Centre, Florida got off to a flying start, with the main talking point coming when Fernando González’s professional career ended. The Chilean entered the American competition as a wild card but before had already announced his plans to retire once he was eliminated from the second ATP Masters 1000 event of the season.
And he went out in dramatic fashion against France’s Nicolas Mahut in three tough sets that lasted two and a half hours. With the Frenchman taking the first set 7-5 after 55 minutes of play, González won the second after breaking his opponent’s serve in the third game. In the definitive set the South American had a number of chances to break Mahut’s service, but the first round tie was doomed to end in a tie breaker. Despite the 500 Chileans in attendance to cheer him on, González could not prolong his professional career any longer as he double faulted to lose the match. It was by no means an ideal way to finish his career, but the Chilean can be proud of ending a 13 year run of playing tennis at the highest level.
However, the first round did see some other veterans from the ATP circuit progress. David Nalbandian beat Belgium’s Steve Darcis (6-4, 7-6) and faces the tournament’s ninth seed, Serbia’s Janko Tipsarevic, in the next round. At 34 years of age Arnaud Clement got the better of Israel’s Dudi Sela with a double 3-6; Xavier Malisse did the same against France’s Edouard Roger-Vasselin; and Tommy Haas overcame Guillaume Rufin (4-6, 4-6) and will now face Radek Stepanek.
One of the matches of the day starred two old dogs: Russia’s Nikolay Davydenko and James Blake. The American took the first set 4-6, but the European bounced back with a double 6-4. As far as the Spanish were concerned there was good news and bad news. Roberto Bautista, who qualified from the preliminary round, beat Italy’s Andreas Seppi in three sets: 6-3, 1-6, 6-3. However, Pablo Andujar was knocked out by Colombia’s Santiago Giraldo (3-6, 2-6), with the South American now preparing for a second round tie with Rafael Nadal.
Today the remaining first round fixtures will be played, with Spain’s Guillermo García-López and Albert Ramos participating. Other well-known names who will be taking part are Baghdatis, Karlovic, Rochus and Nieminen.
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