Tuesday, January 3, 2012

ATP schedule features last three Sacramento champs

   The winners of the last three Sacramento Challengers played today, two of them against each other, on the ATP World Tour.
   Ivo Karlovic (2011), a 6-foot-10 Croat, opened his year with a 6-7 (1), 6-2, 7-6 (3) victory over Sergiy Stakhovsky of Ukraine in the first round of the $1.024 million Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha.
   In Brisbane, Australia, Santiago Giraldo (2009) dispatched qualifier and hometown favorite John Millman (2010) 6-3, 6-3 in the opening round of the $434,250 Brisbane International.
   Also, sixth-seeded Radek Stepanek, a 33-year-old Czech who won the 2009 SAP Open in San Jose, beat Finnish veteran Jarkko Nieminen 7-6 (3), 6-2 to reach the quarterfinals. Stepanek captured the inaugural Brisbane tournament in 2009 and reached last year's final, losing to Andy Roddick.
   In Chennai, India, San Francisco native Sam Querrey lost to Romanian veteran Victor Hanescu 6-3, 6-4 in the first round of the $398,250 Aircel Chennai Open. Hanescu will meet fourth-seeded Milos Raonic, last year's SAP Open champion, in the second round.
   Meanwhile, doubles specialist Scott Lipsky, a former NCAA finalist from Stanford, ended a six-match losing streak. Lipsky and fellow American Rajeev Ram, seeded second, eliminated Indian wild cards Sriram Balaji and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan 7-5, 6-4 in the opening round at Chennai.
   Lipsky won the doubles crown in the 2005 (inaugural) Sacramento Challenger with former Stanford teammate David Martin, and Ram gained the Sacramento final in singles in 2006 and doubles in 2008 with John Isner.
   In Qatar doubles, Sacramento-area resident Dmitry Tursunov of Russia and Nenad Zimonjic of Serbia beat second-seeded James Cerretani of Reading, Mass., and 6-8 Dick Norman of Belgium 6-1, 6-4 in the first round.
   WTA -- Qualifier Vania King of the Sacramento Capitals fell to Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 in the second round of the $655,000 Brisbane International. At 5-11, Hantuchova is six inches taller than King.

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