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Haas, Malisse Upset in First Round Action
© Delray Beach International Tennis Champs.
A new champion will be crowned at the end of the 2008 Delray Beach International Tennis Championships after the last two winners, German Tommy Haas and Belgian Xavier Malisse, were dealt first round upsets on Monday night.
Argentine Diego Hartfield upset No. 2 seed and 2006 champion Haas in the German's first appearance of the 2008 ATP season, and American Bobby Reynolds followed by closing out his match against defending champion Malisse in an identical time of one hour and 55 minutes.
Hartfield, who is making his Delray Beach debut this week, delivered on five of his 17 break point chances to oust Haas, 6-2, 3-6, 6-2. It marked the first hard court win in Hartfield's career. He had been 0-4 going into the match.
"I'm very happy," said Hartfield, who is currently ranked No. 99. "I always knew I could play good on hard courts. I was practicing in Buenos Aires on hard courts before Australia and I was playing good."
Haas, who had shoulder surgery in November, struggled to serve over 110 MPH the entire evening. Last season, he spent 22 weeks inside the Top 10 last year as he repeated his title effort in Memphis and advanced to Australian Open semifinals and US Open quarterfinals.
"Overall (the shoulder) feels good," said Haas. "It's my first test. Unfortunately the shoulder went away a bit at the end of the second set. I didn't have the pop anymore. I didn't really have any pain, just no power."
In his opener, Malisse managed to convert on only two of his 17 break point opportunities as he fell to Reynolds, 6-2, 4-6, 6-3. Reynolds, ranked No. 111, made his only appearance at Delray Beach in a first round loss two years ago.
"It's nice to get a good first win of the year," said Reynolds. "He obviously does well here. It's tough conditions. It was windy, it was swirling. It's tough under the lights. I felt like I served well at times and played pretty solid and got the job done."
Malisse, who was limited to just five tournaments last year due to a wrist injury, was looking to reach the Delray Beach final for the third year in a row. He won the title in 2005 and claimed the 'double' last year by defeating James Blake in the singles final and teaming up with Hugo Armando to win the doubles title. He also reached the final in 1999 and 2003.
"I just played bad overall," said Malisse. "I don't have much confidence right now and then the wind, it's even tougher. I just couldn't find my game... I don't mind losing if I'm playing well because at least I get some good matches in, but this just puts a dent in my confidence and makes it even tougher to come back."
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Former World No. 15 Robby Ginepri claimed his first ATP-level match win in his first main-draw appearance of the 2008 season. The American, who has slipped to No. 169 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings, enjoyed a 6-3, 6-0 win over Frenchman Mathieu Montcourt.
Ginepri dropped just six points on serve and did not face a break point. Montcourt won just 10 points in the second set as Ginepri powered to the finish line.
"It's been a while since I've felt like that on court," Ginepri said. "It felt like the old Robby."
Ginepri, who was relegated to the qualifying rounds during the recent Australian Open swing, won his first ATP-level match since the first round of Masters Series Madrid in mid October. He won just 11 of 31 matches in 2007 and finished outside the Top 100 for the first time in five years.
The 2005 US Open finalist and two-time ATP title winner next meets the winner of fourth-seeded Israeli Dudi Sela and fellow American Michael Russell.
Spaniard Guillermo Garcia Lopez saved eight of 10 break points he faced in his 6-4, 6-2 win over American Wayne Odesnik. He will play the winner of Yuri Schukin and third seed Sam Querrey.