Tennis: Wayne Ferreira Wins in Madrid
MADRID, Spain (AP) _ Wayne Ferreira overcame a sore groin and elbow Monday to beat Ivan Ljubicic 7-6 (7), 7-6 (5) at the Tennis Masters Madrid, setting up a second-round match against top-ranked Juan Carlos Ferrero.
Ferreira defeated Ferrero in January at the Australian Open. Ferrero received a first-round bye along with the 15 other seeded players.
``It’s going to be fun for me,″ Ferreira said. ``It’s nice to play these kind of matches. I don’t have any pressure on this match.″
Ferreira improved his record to 3-1 against Ljubicic. The South African beat the hard-serving Croat twice in five-set matches last year in early rounds at the Australian Open and Wimbledon.
In other matches opening day, Gaston Gaudio of Argentina rallied past Finland’s Jarkko Nieminen 3-6, 7-5, 6-2, and Juan Ignacio Chela of Argentina defeated Alberto Martin of Spain 6-4, 1-6, 6-1.
Two Americans advancing were Vincent Spadea and Robby Ginepri. Spadea beat Christophe Rochus of Belgium 6-4, 7-5, and Ginepri eliminated Olivier Rochus of Belgium 6-3, 6-3.
Also, Nicolas Massu of Chile ousted Fernando Verdasco of Spain 7-6 (2), 6-4, and Alex Corretja of Spain downed countryman Rafael Nadal 6-2, 3-6, 6-4.
Ferrero, who lost to eventual champion Andre Agassi in the Madrid quarterfinals last year, is trying to hold his No. 1 ranking. The French Open champion has led the rankings the past five weeks.
Andy Roddick is close behind. The U.S. Open champion is bidding for an unprecedented third straight Tennis Masters title following wins in Montreal and Cincinnati.
Roddick, who leads the calendar-year ATP Champions Race, lost his opening match in Madrid last year.
Last year, Madrid replaced Stuttgart in the Tennis Masters Series _ the most prestigious tournaments behind the four Grand Slams. This is the next-to-last stop in the nine-tournament series that ends in Paris.