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Top-Seed Schuettler Upset at Mercedes Cup

July 14, 2004

STUTTGART, Germany (AP) _ Top-seeded Rainer Schuettler was knocked out of the Mercedes Cup in the second round Wednesday, losing 6-7 (6), 6-3, 6-2 to Radek Stepanek.

Stepanek broke serve for a 4-2 lead in the second set, and then went up a break for a 2-1 lead in the third.

Schuettler dropped his serve and Stepanek won in just under two hours, improving his career record against the German at 4-2.

Schuettler lost in an opening match for the 10th time this season. He reached the semifinals at Gstaad last week.

In other matches, third-seeded Juan Ignacio Chela beat Jan Frode Andersen 6-3, 6-1; and fifth-seeded Jiri Novak, No. 8 Mariano Zabaleta, No. 10 Mikhail Youzhny, No. 12 Albert Costa, No. 13 Ivo Karlovic, No. 14 Rafael Nadal and No. 16 Tomas Berdych _ all advanced in straight sets.

Novak beat Thierry Ascione 6-2, 6-4, and Youzhny needed three match points to dispatch Sunday’s Newport finalist Alexander Popp 6-3, 7-6 (7). Costa snapped a three-match losing streak against Felix Mantilla to win 7-5, 6-4, and Nadal edged Martin Vassallo Arguello 7-6 (4), 6-4.

Zabaleta, who won the Swedish Open title Monday, ousted Marc Lopez of Spain 7-6 (2), 6-2.

Karlovic ended the hopes of Franco Squillari, the 2000 Stuttgart champion who had to qualify this year, 6-3, 7-6 (0). Berdych beat Bjoern Phau 6-2, 6-3.

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