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Houston clay court takes toll on seeds

ONLY one seed was left in the second round of the US Men's Clay Court Championships in Houston after No. 3 Jurgen Melzer and No. 4 Jeremy Chardy lost on Wednesday.

The last surviving seed was No. 6 and defending champion Marcel Granollers of Spain, who plays his second-round match against 2004 champ Tommy Haas of Germany. If Granollers loses, it will mark the first time no seeds reach the quarterfinals since the tournament went to a 32-player format in 1988.

Melzer was defeated by Wayne Odesnik of the United States 6-4, 6-0, and Chardy followed soon after, routed by Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain 6-1, 6-0. Former No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt of Australia accounted for Sergio Roitman of Argentina 6-1, 6-3 and will meet Garcia-Lopez next.

"I probably could have closed it out more comfortably in the second set," Hewitt said. "He played a couple of good points to break me but it was blustery conditions out there so it was good to go ahead and finish up the second set."

Top-seeded James Blake and No. 2 Mardy Fish were eliminated in the first round along with three other seeds in the first two days.

John Isner outlasted Paul Capdeville of Chile 4-6, 7-6 (1), 7-6 (5) in 2 hours, 40 minutes to set up a quarterfinal with countryman Odesnik. Isner served 24 aces but Capdeville made the only break in the first set, and didn't give Isner a break chance until the last set.

In Marbella, Spain, Klara Zakopalova upset top-ranked Serena Williams 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 on Wednesday in the first round of the Andalucia Tennis Experience. The 95th-ranked Czech converted seven break points to beat the American on outdoor clay.

Williams, the 2009 Australian Open champion, won less than half of her service points to lose her second straight match. She also lost to Victoria Azarenka of Belarus in the Sony Ericsson final on Saturday.

Zakopalova will next face Renata Voracova of the Czech Republic.

Third-seeded Kaia Kanepi of Estonia beat Silvia Soler Espinosa of Spain 6-4, 6-2 in another first round match.

In the second round, fourth-seeded Anabel Medina Garrigues beat Virginia Ruano Pascual 6-2, 6-3 in an all-Spanish matchup, while seventh-seeded Sorana Cirstea of Romania defeated Andreja Klepac of Slovenia 4-6, 6-1, 6-1. Also, Roberta Vinci of Italy beat Nicole Vaidisova of the Czech Republic 6-3, 6-3.

In Florida, top-seeded Nadia Petrova beat 14-year-old American Madison Keys 6-3, 6-2 in the second round of The MPS Group Championships.

Petrova, ranked No. 10 in the world, won nine of the last 11 games to beat Keys, who was playing in her first WTA Tour event in the season-opening clay-court tournament.

Petrova advanced to a quarterfinal match against seventh-seeded Alona Bondarenko of Ukraine.

Third-seeded Dominka Cibulkova of Slovakia defeated Anastasia Rodionova of Russia 6-1, 6-3. Cibulkova lost in the final last year to Maria Sharapova.

In the quarterfinals, Cibulkova will meet Elena Vesnina of Russia, who defeated Patricia Mayr of Austria 1-6, 6-3, 6-2.


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