• Retirements Plague Barcelona First Round

    4/30/08 3:35 AM | Ricky Dimon
    Retirements Plague Barcelona First Round Three of the best first-round matchups on paper turned out to huge duds, as three retirements made for a less than stellar day in Barcelona. Feliciano Lopez, Ernests Gulbis, and Nicolas Almagro were handed gift entries into the second round.

    Feliciano Lopez d. Jose Acasuso 5-2, retired

    Acasuso called it quits with a stomach problem after seven games, and it was clear from the start that it would be tough for him to make this contest interesting. Lopez won 24 of 39 points and lost just two points in four service games despite serving at a mere 36 percent rate. The Spaniard completely dominated Acasuso from the back of the court and he had two breaks of serve in hand when the Argentine retired after Lopez held for a 5-2 lead. Lopez meets countryman Alberto Martin tomorrow and would most likely get Rafael Nadal I round three.

    Ernests Gulbis d. Janko Tipsarevic 6-4, 4-2, retired

    Gulbis plays with reckless abandon and power, power, power is the only speed he knows. Normally that does not translate well to the clay and it never has for the 19-year-old Latvian, but it was easily good enough to beat Tipsarevic. Gulbis surged to a quick 3-0 advantage in the first set, but the Serb broke back and leveled the match at 3-3. After that, however, it was all Gulbis. He took the opening frame of play 6-4, and after trading breaks early in the second set, Tipsarevic dropped serve again at 2-3 and promptly retired with a right ankle injury. The key to the match was Gulbis’ huge first serve, a weapon that is big enough to cause problems even on the slow stuff. He fired six aces and won 23 of 30 first-serve points.

    Nicolas Almagro d. Viktor Troicki 6-2, retired

    Almagro is a genius on clay and he is always a pre-tournament contender when he plays on the surface. This match wasn’t expected to be close, and it wasn’t. What was unexpected was that Troicki didn’t even last two sets. The Serb retired with a back injury after losing the first set 6-2. Troicki fell to Kei Nishikori in a third-set tiebreaker of a Challenger final just two days ago and the turnaround simply might have been too quick for the youngster. Plus this was never a match that Troicki had a realistic shot of winning—Almagro should be favored to reach the semis in Barcelona—so what’s the point in risking further injury? The Spaniard moves on to play Filippo Volandri, a 6-2, 6-4 winner over Jurgen Melzer.

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