Belgian veterans Olivier Rochus and Xavier Malisse both beat higher-ranked opponents to advance to the second round of the Heineken Open on Monday, and American Brian Baker continued his surprising comeback by ousting fifth-seeded Jerzy Janowicz of Poland 4-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4.
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The 89th-ranked Rochus, who reached the final in Auckland for the second time last year but needed a wild card to enter the main draw this time, beat 51st-ranked Albert Ramos of Spain 6-2, 5-7, 6-2. The 30-year-old Belgian’s victory improved his record in singles in Auckland to 14-7.
Baker returned to the ATP Tour last year after a six-year absence and, after reaching the fourth round at Wimbledon, has lifted his ranking to No. 61.
”The conditions were very, very tough,” Rochus said of the swirling wind at the Auckland Tennis Center. ”They were some of the toughest conditions I’ve ever played in and I’m very happy to have won and to be able to continue.
”It was the windiest conditions I’ve ever played in and the wind was going all over the place. Fortunately, I kept my mind focused and I was able to win.”
Rochus will play fourth-seeded Sam Querrey of the United States in the second round. The top four seeded players in the Heineken Open – David Ferrer, Philipp Kohlschreiber, Tommy Haas and Querrey – received byes into the second round.
Earlier, the 32-year-old Malisse beat seventh-seeded Martin Klizan of Slovakia 7-6 (4), 3-6, 6-4. Malisse is ranked No. 62.
Also, eighth-seeded Thomasz Bellucci of Brazil defeated David Goffin of Belgium 7-6 (5), 6-2.