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Kiefer packs off Berdych in Stuttgart

GERMAN veteran Nicolas Kiefer upset third-seeded Tomas Berdych 6-3, 6-3 on Tuesday to advance to the second round of the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart, Germany.

The 32-year-old Kiefer beat Berdych for the first time in five matches.

Berdych had been hoping for his second clay-court title in Germany this year, after winning in Munich. Berdych also helped the Czech Republic reach the Davis Cup semifinals by beating Argentina last weekend.

Top-seeded Gilles Simon of France advanced by defeating Philipp Petzschner of Germany 6-3, 6-4.

Another German, fifth-seeded Philipp Kohlschreiber, eased into the second round by beating Diego Junqueira of Argentina 6-3, 6-2.

"My game needs some fine-tuning but I am glad to get through the first match," Kohlschreiber said. "I didn't play a great match but I am through and that's what counts."

Kohlschreiber won both his singles matches but Germany still lost to defending champion Spain in the Davis Cup quarterfinals over the weekend.

"I would have enjoyed some time off but I feel a responsibility to play German tournaments," he said.

Fabio Fognini of Italy rallied to beat seventh-seeded Fabrice Santoro of France 5-7, 7-6 (3), 6-1.

With Germans enjoying a good day, Rainer Schuettler won only his second match on clay this year when he rallied to beat Ivo Minar of the Czech Republic 2-6, 7-6 (2), 6-4, and Mischa Zverev defeated Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain 6-2, 6-4.

In an all-German encounter, Simon Greul beat Davis Cup player Andreas Beck 7-6 (4), 7-6 (5).

Alexandre Sidorenko of France, a "lucky loser" from qualifying who took the place of sixth-seeded Albert Montanes in the draw following the Spaniard's withdrawal, defeated another Spaniard, Daniel Munoz-De La Nava, 7-6 (3), 1-6, 6-2.

Oscar Hernandez notched one Spanish victory when he beat Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia 6-4, 6-4, and Jeremy Chardy of France upset eight-seeded Jose Acasuso of Argentina 6-2, 7-6 (4).

In Italy, Swedish Open champion Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez of Spain ousted third-seeded Alize Cornet of France 6-2, 6-2 in the first round of the Palermo Open on Tuesday.

Martinez Sanchez beat three seeds en route to her second title of the year at Bastad, Sweden, on Saturday, and came into Palermo unseeded again.

Cornet, meanwhile, has struggled. It was her third loss in four matches since the French Open.

Home favorite and top seed Flavia Pennetta began her 10th bid to win Palermo, easing into the second round with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Arantxa Parra Santonja from Spain.

Pennetta reached the final in 2004 and lost last year in the semifinals to compatriot Sara Errani, who won the event. Errani, seeded fifth, began her title defense by beating Ukraine's Mariya Koryttseva 6-4, 6-4.

Sixth-seeded Ekaterina Makarova of Russia beat Jill Craybas of the United States 6-3, 6-1, but No. 8 Gisela Dulko of Argentina, a semifinalist in Bastad, was knocked out by German Anna-Lena Groenefeld of 6-4, 6-1.


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