• Darcis withdraws in Belgrade, Clement beats Ventura

    5/5/09 5:14 PM | Ricky Dimon
    Darcis withdraws in Belgrade, Clement beats Ventura Steve Darcis pulls out of the Serbia Open on Tuesday. Instead of facing Darcis, Arnaud Clement plays and defeats lucky loser Santiago Ventura.

    Steve Darcis withdrew from the Serbia Open on Tuesday citing a right shoulder injury. It has been a consistent problem for the oft-injured Belgian, who has won just a single match at the ATP level so far this season (1-8 match record). Dacis is down at No. 89 in the world rankings and Tuesday's development certainly won't help any attempt to get back up to his career-high of 44th.

    As a result of Darcis' withdrawal, Lukasz Kubot got a lucky loser spot into the main draw, but was slotted into a spot designated for a qualifier against Serb Arsenije Zlatanovic. Kubot lost earlier in the day in the final round of qualifying to Dominik Hrbaty by a bizarre scoreline of 7-6(1), 0-6, 6-0.

    Santiago Ventura, a qualfiier, assumed Darcis' spot in the main draw and promptly fell to Clement 6-1, 6-4. Clement needed one hour and 21 minutes to book a spot in the second round of Belgrade's inagural event.

    The 31-year-old Frenchman showed Ventura right from the start that life in the main draw would be much different from life in qualifying stages. Clement broke twice in the first set and saved both of the break points to consolidate the big advantage. Serving at 82 percent also helped the Frenchman's efforts.

    Both players put in a ton of first serves in the second frame of play, but to little effect. Ventura finally got the best of his opponent's serve on two different occasions, but it was not enough as the Spaniard surrendered his own serve three times. He won less than half of the points even when he made his first serve.

    Next up for Clement is either wildcard Marcos Baghdatis or qualifier Flavio Cipolla. Clement is 1-2 lifetime against Baghdatis, but they have never met on clay. The world No. 57 has never faced Cipolla at the ATP main-draw level, but Cipolla beat him on clay in last year's Monte-Carlo qualification.

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