Blake cruises in Madrid

Blake cruises in Madrid

Courtesy: USTA.com

MADRID (AP)
-- Ivan Ljubicic scored the first upset at the Madrid Open on Tuesday after beating ninth-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-4, 7-5.

The Croatian wildcard broke ninth-ranked Tsonga three times, with two of those coming in the second set when Ljubicic rallied from 5-2 down to take it.

Ljubicic joined seventh-seeded Fernando Verdasco and No. 16 Tommy Robredo in the third round.

Verdasco beat Juan Carlos Ferrero 6-3, 6-2 in an all-Spanish match, while Robredo rallied to defeat Mardy Fish of the United States 3-6, 7-6 (5), 6-2 on clay at the "Magic Box" tennis center.

After dropping the opening set, Robredo broke in three of four chances in the last two sets and improved to 9-0 in tiebreakers this season.

The Spaniard will play either No. 3 Andy Murray or Simone Bolelli, with those two meeting later Tuesday at the joint $9.7 million ATP and WTA event.

Madrid's conversion from a fast-playing hardcourt to a clay surface looked to benefit James Blake, who beat Romania's Victor Hanescu 6-2, 6-4 for his first victory in the Spanish capital after six appearances.

"My curse was broken and all it took was moving to my least favorite surface," Blake said.

Hanescu hit 27 unforced errors with most coming on his second serve where he scored only six of 18 points and hit three double faults.

The 16th-ranked American player, who also pressured the Romanian with solid net play, was coming off Sunday's Estoril Open final loss. That impressive run on Portuguese clay seemed to have carried over into Spain, although Blake said that he did little tinkering, with Madrid's high altitude and its quicker bounce suiting his game.

"I just started playing my game instead of just trying to be a clay courter," said Blake, who will face another big-serving opponent in Ivo Karlovic next. "I've got to play my style and play aggressive when I get the chance."

In other first round matches, 10th-seeded Nikolay Davydenko broke four times to beat Viktor Troicki of Serbia 6-2, 6-2.

Also, No. 13 Marin Cilic held off Marcel Granollers 6-2, 6-7 (4), 6-1, while Italian pair Andreas Seppi and Fabio Fognini plus Tomas Berdych also won.

Roger Federer played later against Sweden's Robin Soderling.

On the women's side, fourth-seeded Jelena Jankovic overcame a stubborn challenge from Daniela Hantuchova to win 7-5, 6-2.

The fourth-ranked Serb got off to a slow start with Hantuchova slapping a forehand wide down the line as Jankovic broke to even the first set at 5-5.

Jankovic took the first set when the 39th-ranked Slovakian netted.

Jankovic then broke Hantuchova early in the second frame but couldn't shake her opponent, who couldn't convert any of her seven break chances in the second set. Jankovic broke Hantuchova five times in the match to set up a third round match with Elena Vesnina of Russia.

In other women's second round matches, ninth-seeded Caroline Wozniacki beat Varvara Lepchenko of the United States 6-3, 6-1 to advance to play either Venus Williams or Alisa Kleybanova.

Italy's Francesca Schiavone, Agnes Szavay of Hungary and Russia's Vera Dushevina were also winners on Tuesday.

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