Istomin and Rosol through to second round in Moscow

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Lukas Rosol and Malek Jaziri won in straight sets, while Denis Istomin got back from the abyss to enter the second round of the Moscow ATP tournament.

The first round encounter between Czech Rosol and Daneil Gimeno-Traver of Spain turned into battle of the nerves as the players never dropped their service games, so they tried to cancel each other out in the tie-breaks. Some minor upsets in the first set with Gimeno-Traver saving a triple break point to level the score at 3-3 and Rosol fending off two break balls to move 5-4 up. In the breaker the Spaniard pulled a second mini-break to avert the first set ball, yet his rival ultimately stole the opener with his fourth set-ball rally. The second-set tiebreak was one-sided with Rosol ending the match on a high note and sending Gimeno-Traver home with the fifth mini-break. The Czech took this one with 7-6 (9), 7-6 (2) and will play Uzbek Istomin in round two.

Sixth seed Istomin was walking on a thin ice in the clash against German Bjorn Phau. An inconsistent service performance on both sides in the first set with Phau grabbing three breaks, one more than his opponent. Istomin showed no signs of recovery and was broken at the very start of the set two. It was getting bad to worse for him as Phau nearly left him trailing by two breaks, but the Uzbek held the game and kept his chances alive at 3-4. Even so, unseeded German was in a position to serve out the match at 5-4, yet he only made it as far as 30-15. Istomin broke back for 5-5 and there was no way of stopping him after that. He confirmed his great escape with a love game and broke Phau again to level the terms. The match started to slide out of the German’s hands as he let Istomin extend his astonishing run to eight games in total. Phau got on the scoreboard at 5-1 to avoid being bageled out of the tournament, while Istomin capped off his memorable comeback with another love game. He proceeded into the second round of Moscow with 5-7, 7-5, 6-1.

Us player Rajeev Ram was certainly hoping to get more out of the Moscow ATP tournament than convincing defeat against 112th-ranked Tunisian Jaziri. The American never threatened Jaziri with a break ball, while suffering two serve losses in each of the sets himself. The Tunisian converted the first match ball to prevent the clash lasting no more than fifty-nine minutes. He brushed Ram aside with a 6-3, 6-1 victory and is meeting third seed Viktor Troicki next.

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