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The Star Online: Sports


Del Potro earns easy win at Indian Wells

Posted: 10 Mar 2011 10:33 PM PST

INDIAN WELLS, California (AP) - Juan Martin del Potro showed he was getting back toward his best by blasting past Radek Stepanek 6-4, 6-0 in the first round of the BNP Parisbas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden on Thursday.

Del Potro, the 2009 U.S. Open champion, was out most of last year with a wrist injury.

He has opened this year by winning 14 of 18 matches and his eighth career title, at Delray Beach, Florida.

"I played better than him," Del Potro said after his first win over Stepanek in three tries. "I take all my opportunities, especially in the second set, and was very focused on my serve."

Del Potro said he injured the wrist in his previous match with Stepanek in the fall of 2009. He had surgery in May.

He was out eight months following the surgery and his ranking tumbled from No. 5 in 2009 to No. 257 at the end of 2010. He is No. 90 now, and not sure how close he is to being fully recovered.

"I was out a year, a long time," he said. "Maybe I had my best form today. I can improve my game, everything, my serve and my approaches. I don't know if I can play better or not, but I know the way to improve day by day. It's a long road to be in the top players again. It's very tough to play good tennis after a year out of competition, but I'm trying."

Del Potro will take on 2010 tournament champion Ivan Ljubicic of Croatia in the second round.

Former world No. 1 Dinara Safina of Russia got into the second round by beating Arantxa Parra Santonja of Spain 6-3, 6-3.

Also through to the second round is American Donald Young, a former junior star. He advanced with a 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 win over Potito Starace of Italy.

Young, who earned his berth in the main draw by qualifying, will face No. 5 Andy Murray of Great Britain in the second round.

"I'm excited," Young said. "I'm happy to get into the next round and see how it goes. It's been and up and down year, but I'm pretty excited the way things are going. When you earn your way in (to a tournament) it makes you feel good about yourself."

Young's win set a tone for the Americans.

Qualifier Ryan Sweeting was a 6-4, 6-1 winner over Marcel Granollers of Spain and Tim Smyczek, another qualifier, beat Illya Marchenko of the Ukraine 2-6, 6-3, 6-2.

Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia, Victor Hanescu of Romania, Micheal Berrer of Germany, Somdev Devvarman of India, Rainer Schuettler of Germany, Xavier Malisse of Belgium, Ivo Karlovic of Croatia, Mischa Zvervev of Germany, Richard Barankis of Lithuania and Rik De Voest of South Africa also advanced. The South African will play top-seeded Rafael Nadal in the second round.

American wild card Christina McHale beat Akgul Amanmuradova of Uzbekistan 6-3, 6-1; Elena Baltacha of Great Britain was a 2-6, 7-5, 6-2 winner over Roberta Vinci of Italy and Urszula Radwanska of Poland toppled Bojana Jovanovski of Serbia 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (6).

Others moving into the second round: Sloane Stephens of the U.S - who will take on top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki - Simona Halep of Romania, Shuai Peng of China, Lucie Hradecka of the Czech Republic, Agnes Szavay of Hungary, Anabel Medina Garrigues of Spain, Sofia Arviidsson of Sweden, Laura Pous-Tio of Spain, Shaui Zhang of China, Anna Chakvetadze of Russia and Iveta Benasova of the Czech Republic.

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Young to face Murray at Indian Wells

Posted: 10 Mar 2011 07:51 PM PST

INDIAN WELLS, California (AP) - American qualifier Donald Young will play Andy Murray in the second round of the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells after coming from a set down to beat Italian Potito Starace on Thursday.

Young, a standout at junior level who has been unable to translate that dominance onto the main tour, won 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 to set up a clash with the fifth-seeded Scot.

"I'm excited," Young said. "I'm happy to get into the next round and see how it goes. It's been an up and down year, but I'm pretty excited the way things are going. When you earn your way in (to a tournament) it makes you feel good about yourself."

South Africa's Rik de Voest progressed to a second-round meeting with No.1 seed Rafael Nadal when his first-round opponent Pere Riba of Spain retired after losing the first set 6-4.

Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia, Victor Hanescu of Romania, Michael Berrer of Germany and Somdev Devvarman of India all progressed, as did American qualifiers Ryan Sweeting and Tim Smyczek.

In the women's draw, American wild card Sloane Stephens set up a second-round clash with top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki by beating U.S. qualifier Jamie Hampton 6-2, 6-4.

China's Peng Shuai won through to a second-round meeting with compatriot Li Na, American wild card Christina McHale beat Akgul Amanmuradova of Uzbekistan 6-3, 6-1; Elena Baltacha of Great Britain was a 2-6, 7-5, 6-2 winner over Roberta Vinci of Italy and Urszula Radwanska of Poland toppled Bojana Jovanovski of Serbia 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (6).

Others moving into the second round were Simona Halep of Romania, Lucie Hradecka of the Czech Republic, Agnes Szavay of Hungary, Anabel Medina Garrigues of Spain and Iveta Benasova of the Czech Republic.

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