• Ram beats local hope in soggy Johannesburg

    2/2/10 4:26 AM | Ricky Dimon
    Ram beats local hope in soggy Johannesburg Rajeev Ram needs three sets to get past Rik De Voest on Monday in Johannesburg. Ram is joined in round two by Laurent Recouderc and Stephane Robert.

    South African hopeful Rik De Voest seemed poised to make the most of his wild card into the SA Tennis Open, but De Voest failed to capitalize on a one-set lead over Rajeev Ram on Monday. Ram, seeded fifth, eventually outlasted De Voest 6-7(3), 6-3, 6-3 in one hour and 58 minutes.

    After a total of two breaks were exchanged in a tense first set, breaks came at a torrid pace over the final two sets, thanks especially to Ram. The 83rd-ranked American won 62 percent of his second-serve return points and even though he surrendered his own serve once, he closed it out at 5-3. Ram added two more breaks in the third, the last of which came at 5-3 to finish off the proceedings in style. Next up for Ram, who blasted 16 aces, is either Bjorn Phau or qualifier Fritz Wolmarans.

    Fellow seed Stephane Robert also navigated his way to the Johannesburg second round. The eighth-seeded Frenchman also dropped his opening set, but he bounced back to dismiss American Brendan Evans 3-6, 6-2, 6-2. Robert dropped serve only once over the final two sets while seizing five breaks of his own. He was able to take advantage of eight Evans double-faults and he converted two of a whopping nine break chances in the third frame of play.

    Belgian Steve Darcis was not as fortunate on Monday, losing another three-set encounter to Frenchman Laurent Recouderc. Darcis enjoyed a fast start, but he soon fell 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 after one hour and 59 minutes. Recouderc capitalized on five of eight break chances while saving nine of 13 break points on his own serve.

    All scheduled matches were completed despite rain off an on the entire day. If the weather cooperates on Tuesday, top two seeds Gael Monfils and David Ferrer will both be featured during the night session.

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Current ATP-rankings

1. Djokovic 12 500 pts
2. Murray 8 750 pts
3. Federer 8 670 pts
4. Ferrer 6 970 pts
5. Nadal 6 385 pts

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