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Thursday September 27, 2012

A slog for Nikolay

KUALA LUMPUR: Former champion Nikolay Davydenko was made to huff and puff before getting past lucky loser Sanam Singh in the first round of the Malaysian Open ATP 250 tennis tournament at the Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil yesterday.

Davydenko, who made the semi-finals of the Moselle Open last week, was not moving at his best against Sanam and had to dig deep into his reserves to prevail 7-5, 6-4.

Sanam, who lost in the qualifying rounds, was elevated to the main draw after Slovakia’s Martin Klizan withdrew from the competition.

End of the road: American Michael Yani return ing a shot to Canada’s Vasek Pospisil during their Malaysian
Open second round match at the Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil yesterday. Pospisil won 6-3, 7-5. — AHMAD
IZZRAFIQA LIAS/ The Star End of the road: American Michael Yani return ing a shot to Canada’s Vasek Pospisil during their Malaysian Open second round match at the Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil yesterday. Pospisil won 6-3, 7-5. — AHMAD IZZRAFIQA LIAS/ The Star

And the India player was in such inspired mood that he pushed the experienced Davydenko all the way before the Russian came back strongly to win the match.

The 31-year-old Davydenko, who won the 2009 edition of the Malaysian Open, will face Denis Istomin in the second round after the Uzbek pulled off the shock of the day by beating sixth seed Pablo Andujar of Spain 6-3, 6-2.

“I didn’t practice on the centre court before this match and it was definitely a slow start by me ... I also made quite a few easy mistakes,” said Davydenko.

“I will have to improve more if I want to beat Istomin ... I need to have more speed and control from the baseline.

“Istomin is very good with his returns and I will definitely practise a little before the match.”

Columbia’s Alejandro Falla and Russia’s Alex Bogomolov Jr are also through to the next round after fairly straightforward first round wins.

Canadian Vasek Pospisil, who came into the tournament as the lowest ranked direct entry, became the first player to qualify for the quarter-finals after beating qualifier Michael Yani 6-3, 7-5 yesterday.

“I’m very happy with the win and I’m looking forward to more good matches,” said the world No. 122 Pospisil.

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