Almagro defeats Stepanek, Andujar also advances at 2012 US Open

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Nicolas Almagro of Spain advanced to the second round of the US Open as he overcame Czech veteran Radek Stepanek in four sets 6-3  6-7 (5)  6-3  6-4.

One break for the Spaniard in the seventh game of the first set was enough for him to win the set 6-3 in just 42 minutes. Almagro fired 7 aces and 12 winners and won 70% of service points, while Stepanek hit 2 aces and 7 winners and won 61% of service points.

In the second set, Stepanek seemed better from the beginning and was able to get a 4-2 lead with a break, just before getting broken twice to give Almagro the chance to serve for the set at 5-4. However, the world number 12 failed to capitalise and a tiebreak was to decide the outcome of the second set. After exchanging a couple of mini breaks, the Czech player managed to come out on top in the end, taking it  7-5 and level the match at one set apiece. Almagro hit 22 unforced errors in this set to Stepanek’s 15, which helped Stepanek a lot. Both players hit 5 aces, but Stepanek was better at the net as he won 13 points to Almagro’s 6.

Both players exchanged one break at the beginning of the third set. Almagro, who won 62% of service points and 48% of receiving points in the set, was then able to take his opponent’s serve once more to capture it 6-3.

Almagro kept his momentum in the fourth set and one break in the fifth game was enough for him to win the set 6-4 and book a place in the second round of the tournament.

The 27-years old Spaniard will now face the winner of the match between Nicolas Mahut of France and Philipp Petzschner of Germany.

In another first round match, Pablo Andujar defeated Thomaz Bellucci 7-6 (5) 3-6  7-6 (1)  7-5 to join fellow countryman Almagro in the second round.

Despite Andujar breaking his opponent eraly on in the match, he dropped his serve to let Bellucci back into the first set. With no more breaks of serve, the New York crowd was going to witness a tiebreak. The Spaniard kept his composure and eventually prevailed 7-5. Both players serve stats were similar: the Brazilian had 75 winning percentage on first serve and 57% on second serve, while the Spaniard had a 74 percentage on first set and 59% on second serve.

The second set saw the Brazilian, currently ranked number 40, taking his opponent serve once to win it with a 6-3 scoreline. Belucci produced 3 aces, 3 winners and 1 unforced error.

With both players failing to break serve, a tie break was forced in the third set. Again, the Spaniard dominated Bellucci, but this time he dropped only one point as he took it 7-1.

Andujar was able to seal the deal winning the fourth set 7-5 to advance to the second round, where he will play against countryman Feliciano Lopez. This will be their first encounter ever.

Other results showed Berdych overcoming Goffin 7-5  6-3  6-3, Tsonga outplaying Beck 6-3  6-1  7-6 (2), Raonic coming victorious in his 5-set-match against Giraldo 6-3  4-6  3-6  6-4  6-4, Karlovic losing to Wang 7-6 (4)  6-7 (8) 6-1  6-4 and Darcis defeating Jaziri 3-6  6-1  6-1  6-1.

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