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Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Becker Spoils American Party In Washington

Benjamin Becker© Getty ImagesBenjamin Becker has won four hard-court Challenger titles in 2009.

German Benjamin Becker prevented a second-round clash between Americans Andy Roddick and Robby Ginepri at the Legg Mason Tennis Classic as he prevailed 7-6(3), 6-7(1), 7-6(4) over recent Indianapolis champion Ginepri on Tuesday afternoon at the ATP World Tour 500 tennis tournament in Washington, D.C.

Ginepri, who was looking to reclaim his lead atop the US Open Series Bonus Challenge standings, saw his 4-1 advantage in the third set tie-break evaporate as Becker hit back to win the final six points. The 47th-ranked German fired his 27th ace to set up two match points at 6-4, and capitalised on his first opportunity to clinch the victory in two hours and nine minutes.

Becker is making just his fifth hard-court appearance on the ATP World Tour this season (3-4 record), but put together strong results on the Challenger circuit with four consecutive hard-court titles beginning in April at Baton Rouge. He followed by winning his first tour-level title as a qualifier at the grass-court tournament in ‘s-Hertogenbosch.

Becker had foiled another highly anticipated encounter between American players three years ago at the US Open, famously defeating Andre Agassi in the legend’s final professional match before losing to Roddick in the next round. He has an 0-2 record against three-time Washington champion Roddick.

German Rainer Schuettler joined his countryman as a first-round winner Tuesday, also prevailing in a third-set tie-break over last week’s Los Angeles semi-finalist Leonardo Mayer 6-1, 3-6, 7-6(5). In other first round matches, former World No. 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero defeated Ecuadorian lucky loser Nicolas Lapentti 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-0 and French qualifier Sebastien De Chaunac ousted Uzbekistani Denis Istomin 6-3, 7-6(7).

Indian qualifier Somdev Devvarman posted the week’s first upset of a seeded player, accounting for No. 6 Marin Cilic 6-4, 5-3 in one hour and 42 minutes. Cilic had been responsible for ending Devvarman’s dream run in January at Chennai, where the 24 year old had reached his first tour-level final win with wins over Carlos Moya and Ivo Karlovic. Devvarman played collegiate tennis at the University of Virginia from 2005-08 and won back-to-back NCAA singles titles the last two years.

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