Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Folsom's Tursunov stuns top-five player

Dmitry Tursunov, shown last month at Indian Wells, shocked
fourth-ranked David Ferrer in the Barcelona Open on Wednesday.
Photo by Paul Bauman
   Dmitry Tursunov scored one of the biggest victories of his career on Wednesday.
   But it came with an asterisk.
   The 30-year-old Russian qualifier, who has residences in Moscow and the Sacramento suburb of Folsom, stunned No. 1 seed and four-time runner-up David Ferrer of Spain 7-5, 3-6, 6-1 in the second round of the Barcelona Open.
   At No. 4 in the world, Ferrer and now-retired Ivan Ljubicic of Croatia are the highest-ranked players Tursunov has beaten since he turned pro in 2000. He knocked off Ljubicic in the the second round at Wimbledon in 2006, when Tursunov attained a career-high ranking of No. 20 and went 4-0 in Davis Cup singles to help his country win the title.
   Playing in his first clay-court tournament of the year, the 66th-ranked Tursunov defeated a top-10 player for the first time since upending No. 10 Jurgen Melzer in the quarterfinals at Marseille in Febuary 2011.
   Tursunov, known as the "Tolstoy of tennis" because of his witty blog for the ATP World Tour in 2006, and Ferrer met for the first time. They were supposed to play each other in the second round at Miami last month, but Tursunov defaulted with a stomach illness.
   Ferrer, 31, was playing on his best surface and Tursunov his worst, although the latter reached the French Open doubles quarterfinals or semifinals from 2007 through 2009 with countryman Igor Kunitsyn. 
   But Ferrer, who received a first-round by in Barcelona, was playing in his first match since falling to Andy Murray in a third-set tiebreaker in the Miami final last month. Ferrer missed last week's Monte Carlo Masters with a thigh injury sustained in Miami.
    "It wasn't Ferrer's best match. He didn't play his best tennis,” Tursunov conceded on atpworldtour.com. “He had the advantage over me because he's been playing on clay (earlier this year). But I played very quickly, and I didn't make it easy for him. Ferrer was the favorite based on surface and ranking. It was a match where there were a lot of opportunities for both players.”
   Tursunov, who's 11-33 against top-10 players, took another step in the latest comeback of his injury-plagued career. He had three operations on his left foot or ankle within one year in 2009 and 2010.
   A right-hander with a two-handed backhand, Tursunov strained a tendon in his left wrist in September 2011 but played through the Australian Open in January last year before sitting out for three months.
   After plunging to No. 150 in the world last August, Tursunov ended the year at No. 122. He sat out this past January to rest nagging back, left wrist and right shoulder injuries, according to his manager, Michael Gorin.
   But Tursunov has almost halved his ranking in the last three months, reaching the Marseilles semifinals as a qualifier and the Dubai quarterfinals back to back in February. With his showing in Barcelona, he will approach or return to the top 50.
   Tursunov is scheduled to face 16th-seeded Thomaz Bellucci, a 25-year-old left-hander from Brazil, in the third round on Thursday at 11 a.m. Barcelona time (2 a.m. PDT). It will be their first career meeting.
   Bellucci, ranked 44th, advanced with a 6-7 (5), 6-3, 7-5 victory over 21-year-old wild card Pablo Carreno-Busta of Spain.
   Here's a link to an in-depth story I wrote in 2011 about Tursunov's turbulent past: http://norcaltennisczar.blogspot.com/2011/09/tursunov-no-longer-thinks-father.html.
PAC-12 CHAMPIONSHIPS
In Ojai, Calif.
Men's first round
   No. 33 Washington def. Arizona 4-0. No. 1 singles: No. 14 Kyle McMorrow (W) def. Kieran Thompson 6-1, 6-1. Washington will play Stanford, which had a first-round bye, in Thursday's quarterfinals.
   No. 74 Utah def. No. 49 Oregon 4-3. No. 1 singles: Robin Cambier (O) def. No. 107 Slim Hamza 4-6, 6-4, 6-0. Utah will play No. 18 Cal, which had a first-round bye, in Thursday's quarterfinals.
WEST COAST CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS
In San Diego
Men's first round
   No. 60 Santa Clara def. Gonzaga 4-0. No. 1 singles: Alvaro Nazal (G) led No. 83 John Lamble 7-6 (3), 1-0 (did not finish).
   USF def. Loyola Marymount 4-3. No. 1 singles: Thai Tu (USF) def. Othar Kordsachia 6-2, 2-6, 6-2.
   Saint Mary's def. Portland 4-1. No. 1 singles: Ratan Gill (P) led No. 114 Jesse Kiuru 6-2, 5-6 (did not finish).
Women's first round
   USF def. Portland 4-2. No. 1 singles: Andrea Ka (USF) def. Maja Mladenovic 7-5, 6-0.

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