Top-Seeded Davydenko Loses in First Round

August 24, 2005 07:00 PM

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) --
Juan Ignacio Chela overcame a big deficit in the tiebreaker and upset top-seeded Nikolay Davydenko 6-1, 7-6 (5) in the second round of the Pilot Pen tournament on Wednesday.

Chela was cruising through the match, winning the first set 6-1 and leading the second 3-0, before Davydenko rallied. He won the next four games, but Chela held service to tie the set at 4-4.

In the tiebreaker, Davydenko, ranked sixth in the world, surged to a 4-1 lead but lost the next five points, two when he hit backhands into the net. Chela, ranked 50th, then hit a forehand into the net. But Davydenko ended a long rally -- and the match -- when his crosscourt forehand from the right corner sailed wide.

Davydenko's baseline style helps Chela, who is unbeaten in four matches against him

That gives Chela " lot of rhythm and that's the way (Chela) likes to play,'' the winner from Argentina said through an interpreter.

Davydenko increased the tension on his rackets for this tournament but, after falling far behind, switched back to one with less tension that gave him more control. Then, he started his comeback but broke his racket late in the match and went back to one with greater tension.

"I don't know if it's me or the rackets'' responsible for the loss, Davydenko said.

Most top players skipped the tournament, the first time men have participated in it, to get ready for the U.S. Open starting next week.

Second-seeded Fernando Gonzalez advanced with a 6-2, 3-6, 6-4 win over Justin Gimelstob, but 10th-seeded Filippo Volandri, more suited to clay than the hard court at the Connecticut Tennis Center, was dominated by unseeded James Blake 6-1, 6-3.

Blake, who went to high school in nearby Fairfield, wasn't hurt by the quick turnaround after his second-round match Tuesday, winning both matches in straight sets. He's confident going into the Open after his previous two tournaments in which he lost to Andy Roddick in the final in Washington and Roger Federer in a close first-round match last week in Cincinnati.

"Then you get to come, basically, home. It's a great feeling before the Open,'' Blake said.

He's scheduled to play his first match there against Greg Rusedski, who withdrew from the Pilot Pen.

Third-seeded David Ferrer eliminated Tomas Zib 6-3, 6-3. Other seeded winners were No. 7 Nicolas Massu and No. 12 Vincent Spadea. Eleventh-seeded Jurgen Melzer lost.

The women's draw is stronger with top-seeded Lindsay Davenport, who won her second-round match on Tuesday night, and second-seeded Amelie Mauresmo, who was scheduled to play Wednesday night against Elena Likhovtseva.