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Tuesday October 2, 2012

Tired Berdych defeats spirited Paire in Japan Open

TOKYO:Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic quashed a spirited challenge from Frenchman Benoit Paire to clear the first hurdle at the Japan Open tennis tournament yesterday.

The 2008 champion, fresh from reaching the semi-finals at the US Open last month, got off to a flying start before ending up with a 6-1, 7-6 (8-6) victory in 104 minutes.

“I thought the match might be tough since the beginning, so I was a bit surprised how I won the first set. But it was going to be even a bigger fight. He made me fight hard in the second set,” said the second seed.

Berdych added he was not in peak physical condition due to jet lag.

“It was very tough to stay focused on each point. When I was 5-4 up (in the second set), I lost my serve, got into the tie-break, facing a set point down. It was a very close one in the end. I’m happy to take it on my serve,” he said.

In the second round, Berdych will play either Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil or Colombia’s Alejandro Falla.

In other action, Beijing Olympic doubles gold medallist Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland - the seventh seed - defeated Japan’s Hiroki Moriya 7-5, 4-6, 6-4. Lukas Lacko of Slovakia eased aside Albert Ramos of Spain 6-0, 6-2.

“I think he (Moriya) is a great player. He played better than his ranking (184th). It’s always tough to play that kind of player in the first round,” said Wawrinka, ranked 16th this week.

“He was playing at home. It was really not easy for me, I just had to fight a lot with myself, too. It’s not always easy in the first round, but I’m really happy at the end to win the match,” he added.

In the second round, Berdych will play either Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil or Alejandro Falla of Colombia.

In the last match of the day, Viktor Troicki of Serbia breezed past Robin Haase of the Netherlands 6-2, 6-3. — AFP

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