ATP Tour

Pospisil, Vesely win in India

Vasek Pospisil (AFP)
Vasek Pospisil (AFP)
Chennai - Rising stars Vasek Pospisil of Canada and Jiri Vesely of the Czech Republic began the new tennis season with first-round victories in the ATP Chennai Open on Monday.

Fifth-seeded Pospisil, who jumped from number 140 to 32 in the rankings by the end of the 2013 season, brushed past British wildcard Kyle Edmund 6-3, 7-5 at the Nungambakkam Tennis Stadium.

"It’s nice to start the season with a win, but I have a long way to go," said the 23-year-old, who is Canada's number two player behind the big-serving Milos Raonic.

Pospisil's next opponent will be Lu Yen-hsun of Taiwan, who ruined American Tim Smyczek's 26th birthday with a 6-4, 6-2 victory on an outside court.

Vesely, who at 20 is the youngest player in the world's top 100, survived a scare from Indian wildcard Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan before advancing to the next round.

The 84th-ranked Vesely bounced back after trailing 1-4 in the first set to beat the Indian 7-5, 6-2 on the centre court.

"I did not have a good start, but the important thing is that I won," said the Czech, who was the number one junior player in 2011.

Swiss world number eight Stanislas Wawrinka leads the field in the $450 000 tournament, South Asia's only ATP event that serves as a warm-up for the Australian Open in mid-January.

Wawrinka, who won the Chennai title in 2011, will have world number 15 Mikhail Youzhny of Russia, number 16 Fabio Fognini of Italy and the 26th-ranked Benoit Paire of France as his strongest challengers.

Also in the fray are the Spanish duo of Marcel Granollers and Roberto Bautista-Agut, and Frenchman Edouard Roger-Vasselin.

Defending champion Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia withdrew from a seventh appearance in Chennai after failing to recover from a heel injury that troubled him all through the year.

Meanwhile, Dudi Sela of Israel defeated Slovak Lukas Lacko 6-4, 6-2 to set up a second round clash against Youzhny.
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