Djokovic, Canas Featured Tuesday in Vienna

Posted on October 9, 2007

Seven players made it to the round of 16 on Monday, leaving nine more spots up for grabs; on Tuesday, 18 players will try to fill out the remaining berths at the Ä642,750 BA-CA Tennis Trophy in Vienna, Austria.

The first match-up on Center Court features unseeded players Feliciano Lopez and Werner Eschauer. Vienna has been a special venue for Lopez in the past; he has reached the quarterfinals or better in all of his three previous appearances, including winning his first (and so far only) career ATP singles title here in 2004 (beating Guillermo Canas in five sets in the final). This is his third straight week of competition since a fourth round finish at the US Open, and although he fell first round at Bangkok two weeks ago he did get to his third quarterfinal of the year last week in Tokyo (falling to David Ferrer). Austriaís Eschauer enjoyed a career breakthrough on the clay courts of Amersfoort in July, reaching the first ATP singles final of his 13-year professional career (falling to Steve Darcis). Aside from that run - which was, incidentally, his first time to even reach the quarterfinals or better - he has only won three matches in ATP events all year long.

The next match pits No. 5-seeded wild card Guillermo Canas against an unseeded Juan Carlos Ferrero. Canas has had an incredible season, shaving nine tenths off his ATP Ranking since the start of the year (shooting from No. 142 on January 1 to No. 14) on the strength of claiming his seventh career ATP title at Costa do Sauipe and making back-to-back finals at Miami (his second career ATP Masters Series final) and Barcelona. He slumped during the summer hardcourt season (going 1-3) but in his first event of the fall last week he was a semifinalist in Metz. Canas has excelled in Vienna in the past, finishing runner-up in both of his previous attempts, in 2001 (falling to Tommy Haas) and 2004 (falling to Lopez). Ferrero will be a tough opponent for Canas; the No. 23-ranked Spaniard, a former No. 1, has kept his ranking between No. 17 and No. 27 all season long, and was also a runner-up here once, in 2005 (falling to Ivan Ljubicic).

Austriaís No. 1 Jurgen Melzer and its No. 6, Alexander Peya, will battle in front of their home crowd in the next match on Center Court. Melzer enjoyed a strong start to the year, reaching the quarterfinals or better at four of his first 10 ATP main draws; although he hasnít gotten that far at any of his last 10, he has played well in Vienna in the past, reaching the quarterfinals on two occasions, in 2002 and last year. Peya, a wild card entrant this week, is ranked over 100 spots below Melzer and has only won one match in three prior attempts at this event, but did win the pairís lone career meeting at the Aachen Challenger four years ago.

Top seed Novak Djokovic faces unseeded Robby Ginepri next. Djokovic has had a breakthrough year, earning the No. 3 ranking on the strength of reaching the quarters or better at 12 stops; among those runs are his first ATP Masters Series shields at Miami and Montreal and his first major final at the US Open. He is the only player to have wins over both men that precede him in the ATP Rankings, namely World No. 1 Roger Federer and World No. 2 Rafael Nadal. The Serb will kick off his quest to add to his four prior titles of the year (he has a total of six titles coming in) and will try to erase the memory of a second round loss in his first appearance in Vienna a year ago (falling to Stanislas Wawrinka) as he opens against Ginepri. The American has struggled this year, winning 10 matches and falling nearly 20 spots in the ATP Rankings since the beginning of the season. He is also 0-4 against Top 10 players this year, not a good sign as he goes up against Djokovic. He did reach the quarterfinals here in his only prior attempt in 2004, however.

An unseeded David Nalbandian faces qualifier Stefano Galvani in the last match of the day on Center. Although this season has seen him fall out of the Top 10 (and furthermore out of the Top 20), Nalbandian has still had a solid year, maintaining a win-loss record of above .500 (18-16 coming in) and reaching one quarterfinal, at Barcelona (falling to David Ferrer). He has notched over half his wins on the biggest stages, reaching the fourth round at the Australian Open and Roland Garros and the third round at Wimbledon and the US Open. After over a month off after falling to Ferrer in five sets at Flushing Meadows (having held a match point in that defeat), the Argentine makes his return to action here and will first take on Galvani, who has won only three matches all year in ATP main draws, all of which came during January and February. Nalbandian has also played well here in the past, leaving a quarterfinalist in each of his last three attempts.

The four other first rounds, including that of No. 7 seed Juan Ignacio Chela, all take place on Court B.

Second seed Fernando Gonzalez and third seed Ivan Ljubicic were among those who made the second round Monday; sixth seed Carlos Moya and eighth seed Marcos Baghdatis were ousted in their openers. (ATP Digital Services)