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Saturday September 21, 2013 MYT 7:02:00 PM
Saturday September 21, 2013 MYT 7:08:12 PM
by lim teik huat
Juan Monaco has withdrawn from the Malaysian Open after failing to recover from a wrist injury. – AFP Photo
KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Open tennis championship, which starts at the Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil on Monday, has been hit by a spate of withdrawals.
Argentinian Juan Monaco, the world No. 30, will not be defending his men’s singles title after failing to recover from a wrist injury. He played in Argentina’s loss to the Czech Republic in the Davis Cup semi-finals last week.
Other notable absentees are world No. 22 Andreas Seppi of Italy, also due to injury, and world No. 24 Marin Cilic of Croatia following his nine-month suspension for testing positive for a banned supplement.
American Brian Baker also pulled out at the last minute and the quartet will be replaced in the main draw by Federico Delbonis of Argentina, Grega Zemlja of Slovenia, Adrian Mannarino of France and Alex Bogomolov Jr of Russia.
However, the ATP 250 event, with prize money worth US$1mil (RM3.24), still has its glitter. Two world top 10 stars – Spaniard David Ferrer (No. 4) and Stanilas Wawrinka of Switzerland (No. 10) – appeared in Saturday’s draw.
Ferrer, who will be making his fourth appearance in Kuala Lumpur, reached the US Open quarter-finals three weeks ago.
The 31-year-old was seeded first last year but was stopped in the last four by eventual runner-up Julien Benneteau of France.
Ferrer has a clear path to the quarter-finals after receiving a bye in the opening round. He will start his campaign against a qualifier.
He is poised to face either 2009 champion Nikolay Davydenko of Russia or American Ryan Harrison in the last eight. Barring any upset, Ferrer should set up a date with fourth seed Juergen Melzer of Austria in the semi-finals.
Wawrinka is coming to town for the first time in buoyant mood. At the US Open, he reached his first Grand Slam semi-final and will be looking to continue his fine run.
But Wawrinka has to watch out for in-form Argentinian Carlos Berlocq, 2011 Malaysian Open finalist Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus as well as Russian sixth seed Dimitry Tursunov in his quest to reach the final.
Berlocq’s clash with Baghdatis, the 2006 Australian Open finalist, will be one of the interesting clashes to see in the first round.
Men’s singles second qualifying round:
Centre Court (10am): Rajeev Ram (US) vs Nam Ji-sung (Kor), Michael Russell (US) vs Greg Jones (Aus), Yasutaka Uchiyama (Jpn) vs Rik De Voest (Rsa), Matteo Viola (Ita) vs Ashaari Zainal (Mas).
Court 1: Jose Rubin Statham (Nzl) vs Tatsuma Ito (Jpn), Treat Huey (Phi) vs Mischa Zverev (Ger), Jean-Julien Rojer (Ned) vs Ze Zhang (Chn), Somdev Devvarman (Ind) vs Eric Butorac (US).
*Note: All matches at the Pura Stadium in Bukit Jalil
Tags / Keywords:
tennis, Malaysian Open, ATP 250, Juan Monaco, Marin Cilic, David Ferrer, Stanilas Wawrinka
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