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Santoro wins rain-hit match

TWO-TIME defending champ Fabrice Santoro of France won his rain-delayed opening round match by beating Flavio Cipolla of Italy 6-3, 7-5, at the Hall of Fame Championships in Newport, Rhode Island, on Thursday.

Santoro, 36, the oldest singles player on the ATP Tour, had his match postponed by heavy rain on Tuesday and halted in the first set on Wednesday.

The second-seeded Santoro will face 2002 champ Taylor Dent next.

"I feel like they are very happy to see me back," said Santoro, who promised to return for one more year if he won Newport last year. But he wasn't about to make that commitment again.

"I don't want to promise anything I can't hold," he said. "I feel like it's time for me to retire at the end of the year and start a new life."

In other opening-round matches, seventh-seeded American Kevin Kim advanced when France's Sebastien Grosjean retired after the second set with a shoulder injury; lucky loser Rajeev Ram of the United States ousted Alejandro Falla of Colombia 6-4, 7-5; eighth-seeded Sergiy Stakhovsky of Ukraine beat Frank Dancevic of Canada 7-6 (9), 2-6, 7-5; Austria's Samuel Groth edged Brazil's Ricardo Mello 7-5, 3-6, 6-3; and Belgium's Olivier Rochus defeated Austria's Alexander Peya 6-2, 4-6, 6-4.

After two days of heavy late-afternoon rain, the singles matches didn't get under way until late in the afternoon to allow the soggy courts to improve.

In Hungary, top-seeded Patty Schnyder of Switzerland eased into the Budapest Grand Prix quarterfinals by defeating Maria Elena Camerin 6-3, 6-2 on Thursday.

Schnyder, a wildcard entry, broke Camerin at 4-3 in the first set, and rolled through the second in a bid for a 12th career title.

Her opponent in the quarterfinals will be fifth-seeded Alisa Kleybanova of Russia, who overcame Kateryna Bondarenko of Ukraine 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.

Fourth-seeded Agnes Szavay of Hungary defeated Tathiana Garbin of Italy 7-6 (2), 5-7, 7-5. Garbin took a 4-0 lead in the first set but Szavay cut down on her mistakes and fought back to a 6-5 lead, winning the set in a tiebreak.

In the quarterfinals, Szavay will face Swiss qualifier Timea Bacsinszky, who defeated Austria's Patricia Mayr 0-6, 6-3, 6-4. Also, sixth-seeded Alona Bondarenko plays Shahar Peer, and Edina Gallovits meets Petra Martic.

In Bastad, Sweden, unseeded Gisela Dulko of Argentina saved match points for the second straight day in eliminating second-seeded Dominika Cibulkova 6-7 (5), 6-3, 7-6 (6) in the Swedish Open quarterfinals.

Seeking her fourth career title, Dulko will face in the semifinals Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez after the Spaniard beat countrywoman and seventh-seeded Carla Suarez Navarro 4-6, 6-3, 6-0.

Top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki edged Maria Kirilenko of Russia 7-5, 7-6 (4).


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