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Kiefer sends 3rd seed Mathieu packing in first round

Mumbai, Sep 26 (UNI) Wild carder Nicolas Kiefer of Germany, who is coming out of injury, today caused the biggest upset of the tournament when he trounced third seed Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu 6-4, 6-3 to enter the second round of the 416,000 dollar ATP Kingfisher Airlines Tennis Open at the CCI hard courts here today.

In a match which was delayed due to yesterday's rains with Kiefer up 4-3 in the first set, saw the German wrap up the first set easily at 6-4 breaking the third seed once which was enough for the German to wrap up the set.

Kiefer, who at one point was ranked as high as fourth in the world before injuries took their toll, is on a comeback trail to rediscover his form having jumped about 300 places after falling to 441 in the rankings before Wimbledon. He is now around the 140 mark and is looking to break into the top 100.

The second set also saw Kiefer in complete control as he made the Mathieu move around the court with precision shots from the back of the net. The German took an early break in the second set and held onto it to pocket the set at 6-3 to book a place in the second round.

Kiefer's countrymate Rainer Schuettler also caused an upset when he beat seventh seed Julien Benneteau of France 7-5, 6-3. Schuettler who was leading by a set 7-5 yesterday before rain forced the match to be carried over today, came out all guns blazing and the seventh seed had no answer to his power game as Schuettler closed out the second set 6-3 for a place in the second round.

In the other matches held over from last night due to rains, fifth seed Fabrice Santoro of France wasted no time to move into the second round with a facile 6-1, 6-2 win over his countrymate Edouard Roger-Vasselin. Santoro who was leading 6-1, 2-0 overnight, continued his good form from to easily close out the match at 6-1, 6-2.

The final qualifying match which had to be played today, saw Japan's Toshihide Matsui beat India's Purav Raja in a three setter winning 6-7, 6-4, 6-3.

Purav, in spite of losing, found a place in the main draw courtesy of being chosen the lucky loser after Dudi Sela of Israel pulled out of the tournament at the 11th hour.

Results: First round: Nicolas Kiefer (Ger) beat Paul-Henri Mathieu (Fra) 6-4, 6-3; Fabrice Santoro (Fra) beat Edouard Roger-Vasselin (Fra) 6-1, 6-2; Rainer Schuettler (Ger) beat Julien Benneteau (Fra) 7-5, 6-3.

Qualifying: Toshihide Matsui (Jpn) beat Purav Raja (Ind) 6-6, 6-4, 6-3.


Story first published: Tuesday, September 25, 2007, 19:06 [IST]
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