Defending champion Nikolay Davydenko crashed out of the Malaysian Open in the second round on Wednesday, beaten by fellow Russian Igor Andreev.
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Andreev won 7-6 (7-5), 5-7, 6-3 in 2 hours, 47 minutes in stifling heat for his first victory over Davydenko in seven years.
Davydenko, who got a bye in the first round, looked to be on course for a relatively straightforward victory when he led 5-1 in the first-set tiebreak, but Andreev found his range with his forehand and rattled off six points in a row to steal it.
Davydenko started the second set on fire, racing to a 5-1 lead, and although Andreev fought back to level it 5-5, Davydenko took the next two games to make it one set apiece.
Andreev’s more aggressive approach in the decider paid dividends as Davydenko began to wilt in the heat.
”I played better than expected and even I’m surprised I won today,” the No. 102-ranked Andreev said. ”My forehand really paid off today and I think that was the difference between us.
”I got a lot of confidence from my fightback in the first set tiebreak and the second set so I was more confident going into the decider. I’m really looking forward to playing in the quarterfinals on Friday.”
A disappointed Davydenko refused to blame his late arrival to Kuala Lumpur for his defeat but instead said the Wilson balls were not to his liking.
”I’m used to Dunlop balls and found the ones in the tournament not as good,” Davydenko said. ”But credit to Igor as he was on top of his game and he played better then me. I will have to pick myself up.”
Andreev will face fellow qualifier Milos Raonic on Friday after the Canadian beat seventh-seeded Sergiy Stakhovsky 6-7 (8), 7-6 (9), 6-3 to reach his first ATP quarterfinal.
Meanwhile, fourth seed Mikhail Youzhny was made to work hard for his 6-1, 5-7, 7-5 victory over Ukraine’s Alexandr Dolgopolov.
Youzhny, who also received a bye in the first round, won an easy first set 6-1, but Dolgopolov upped his game in the second. Both players then held serve in a finely balanced final set until the Russian finally broke his opponent in the 11th game to set up his victory.
”The first set was easy as he (Dolgopolov) made a lot of mistakes. Then in the second set, he played well and I made mistakes. But I’m happy with the way I played overall and hope to play better in the next game,” said Youzhny, who had lost to Dolgopolov in the Canadian Masters earlier this season.