Gulbis wins opening match at Farmers Classic; Fish withdraws

July 27, 2010 10:13 AM
LOS ANGELES (AP) —Ernests Gulbis won his first match in two months, while the hottest player on the ATP Tour withdrew from the Farmers Classic tennis tournament at UCLA on Monday.
Gulbis beat Lukas Lacko of Slovakia 7-5, 7-5, and he was joined in the second round by Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia, Rainer Schuettler of Germany and Dudi Sela of Israel.
Tipsarevic, the No. 6 seed, blitzed Santiago Giraldo of Colombia, 6-1, 6-0; Schuettler was leading No. 7 seed Horacio Zeballos, 6-3, 3-0, when the Argentine retired with a left shoulder injury; and Sela outlasted Xavier Malisse of Belgium, 6-1, 4-6, 6-3.
Mardy Fish won’t be playing, however. The No. 8 seed here, Fish on Sunday at Atlanta won his 10th straight match and second title in a row. That streak and sweltering heat in Atlanta took a toll, though, and Monday night Fish withdrew from this event because of fatigue.
Gulbis was playing for the first time since injuring a right hamstring muscle at the French Open May 23.
“I didn’t care how I play, I just wanted to win, whatever the score, whatever the match (quality), ugly tennis or whatever, to get some wins going,” the fifth-seeded Latvian said.
“The match was really ugly to watch. I didn’t hit too many clean shots. I was running and putting the ball back, but the only thing I did well was serving. In cases like this it’s win, whatever it takes. You push, you run, you fight, do whatever.”
Gulbis, who won his first ATP Tour title at Delray Beach, Fla., earlier this year, is a potential opponent for top-seed Andy Murray in the quarterfinals.
Murray, ranked No. 4 in the world, is a wild-card replacement for second-ranked Novak Djokovic, who withdrew for personal reasons. The other top singles seeds with first round byes in the $619,500 event are 2009 champion Sam Querrey, No. 3 Marcos Baghdatis and No. 4 Feliciano Lopez.
In doubles, top seeds Bob and Mike Bryan will be seeking their sixth Farmers Classic title. If successful, they will break a tie with Australian stars Mark Woodforde and Todd Woodbridge for the most championships in the Open era. Both teams have 61.