Thursday, March 6, 2008

Fernando Gonzalez bundled out in Las Vegas

Fernando Gonzalez
Fernando Gonzalez bundled out in Las Vegas

Top-seeded Chilean Fernando Gonzalez saved 10 match points before being knocked out of the Las Vegas Open second round by Russian Evgeny Korolev 6-3 7-6 on Thursday.

World number 13 Gonzalez, who struggled with his second serve throughout the match, was swept aside in just over 90 minutes.

Although he came from 5-2 down in the second set and broke the Russian to level at 5-5, he lost the tiebreak 7-4 to become the sixth seeded player to make a premature exit.

Second seed and defending champion Lleyton Hewitt of Australia was upset 6-3 7-5 by Frenchman Julien Benneteau in a second-round clash on Wednesday.

“It was a great match for me,” a beaming Korolev told reporters after reaching the last eight in Las Vegas for the second successive year.

“I was feeling really great. The conditions today, everything was perfect. I found my touch, I found my game.”

The 20-year-old from Moscow, who lost to Gonzalez in their only previous meeting at last year’s Australian Open, was frustrated after needing an 11th match point to seal victory.

“I was really, really down when it came to 5-all and I lost the game easily,” said Korolev, who is ranked 100th in the world. “Somehow I got back and started to fight. I was a little bit lucky that I won it at the end in the tie-breaker.”

Gonzalez, who clinched his ninth ATP singles title at Vina del Mar last month, won only 11 of 27 points on his second serve against his more consistent opponent.

Korolev will face qualifier Kevin Anderson in the quarter-finals, the South African having scraped past American wildcard John Isner 7-6 7-5 in a contest of big-serving.

Latvia’s Ernests Gulbis thrashed Peter Luczak of Australia 6-2 6-1 to book a place in the last eight against either third-seeded Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus or American Robby Ginepri. (Writing by Mark Lamport-Stokes; Editing by Ed Osmond)

Article from Yahoo Sports Tennis
AP Photo/Isaac Brekken