Top-seeded Mardy Fish rallied from an opening-set loss and beat Bjorn Phau 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 on Tuesday night in a first-round match in the Citi Open.
Fish moved into the second round along with fellow seeded-players Tommy Haas and Alexandr Dolgopolov, who both advanced with straight-set victories.
Struggling with his composure and a gimpy ankle at 1-1 in the second set, Fish fought off a service break by firing two of his 15 aces. The 2004 Olympian won five straight games to win the set, and went on to win 10 of 11 games.
On the women’s side, top seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia eliminated Bojana Jovanovski of Serbia 6-4, 6-3.
Haas, an Olympic medalist not playing in the London Games, continued his impressive summer by defeating American qualifier Michael Russell 6-4, 6-2. Dolgopolov beat Flavio Cipolla 6-1, 6-3 to advance to the second round.
Only a brief rain delay between sets slowed Haas, the last player to beat Roger Federer this year and like Fish, an Olympic silver medalist. The 34-year-old German never faced a break point and broke Russell’s serve three times.
Currently ranked No. 36 in the world, Haas, who medaled at the 2000 Sydney Games, is still bothered by a decision that denied him the chance to play at Wimbledon, the site of this year’s Olympic tournament. The German Olympic Sports Federation rule states that players must be ranked in the top 24 in the world to participate.
”When I watch the Olympics, I’m still surprised I’m not there,” said Haas, once the world’s No. 2 player. ”The German Olympic committee didn’t nominate me, which was a big mistake in my eyes. That’s life. That happens. I’m happy to play the same week while the Olympics are going on.”
Haas pulled out of the 2008 Beijing games due to injuries, but ”this time I was fit and ready to go.”
”I think it’s a special occasion, it’s at Wimbledon,” Haas said. ”I was very disappointed not to be part of (this year’s Olympics), but you forget about it now and try to worry about playing in the tournament.”
Ranked 13th in the world last summer and poised for a berth on the Russian Olympic team, Pavlyuchenkova struggled early this year and lost ground to others from her country. Rather than playing for gold, silver or bronze, she is aiming for her first title this year.
”Because I’m here, of course, I’m 200 percent in this tournament and I’m happy to be here,” said Pavlyuchenkova, after winning six of nine break point chances against Jovanovski. ”I’m happy to have the opportunity to play another tournament while others play in the Olympics, so at least I’m not on holiday or just watching them play and win matches. Like this, I can do it myself.
”But definitely, of course, I’m a little disappointed because the Olympics is a very special event and everybody wants to play there.”
Dolgopolov needed less than an hour to dispatch Cipolla, breaking the Italian four times without dropping his serve. The 23-year-old player from Ukraine had lost his previous two matches against Cipolla, but relied on a blistering forehand to maintain control – including a nice passing shot on match point.
Seventh-seed Benoit Paire lost his opening match 6-3, 7-5 to Tobias Kamke.
No. 4 seed Vania King advanced to the second round, defeating Jennifer Elie 6-3, 6-4.
Xavier Malisse, a Washington semifinalist in 2010, rallied for a 4-6, 6-2, 6-1 win over Paul-Henri Mathieu.