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  • Youzhny, Stakhovsky lead field in St. Petersburg

    10/25/10 2:01 AM | Kelli DeMario
    Youzhny, Stakhovsky lead field in St. Petersburg Former champion Mikhail Youzhny will make his return to the St. Petersburg Open, seeded first at the ATP World Tour 250 tournament in Russia. The 2004 title winner is joined atop the field by defending champion Sergiy Stakhovsky.

    Top seed Mikhail Youzhny will make his 10th appearance at the St. Petersburg Open this week, ready to headline a collection of 32 hard-court talents in Russia. The 28-year-old looks to rebound after a viral infection kept him out of the Kremlin Cup in Moscow.

    Youzhny, ranked world No. 10, begins the event with a 39-17 season record. The Russian has won two ATP World Tour titles in 2010, having put together championship winning runs in Munich and Kuala Lumpur.

    The Moscow native has been placed in a difficult half of the draw that includes (4) Yen-Hsun Lu, (5) Viktor Troicki and (8) Victor Hanescu. Other players in Youzhny’s section are Pablo Andujar, Daniel Brands, Alexandr Dolgopolov, Fabio Fognini, Andrey Kuznetsov, Rainer Schuettler, Potito Starace, Dmitry Tursunov and Horacio Zeballos.

    Youzhny is set to open his campaign against Germany's Brands in the first round. The closest seed to the Russian is 8th seed Hanescu, who looms as a likely opponent in the quarterfinal. Passage into the semifinal will set a meeting with fifth seed Troicki, who captured his first tour-level title at the Kremlin Cup.

    Second seed Sergiy Stakhovsky leads the bottom half, which hosts (3) Janko Tipsarevic, (6) Denis Istomin and (7) Jeremy Chardy. Additional challengers in the defending champion’s section are Igor Andreev, Benjamin Becker, Teymuraz Gabashvili, Maximo Gonzalez, Mikhail Kukushkin, Igor Kunitsyn, Illya Marchenko, Paul-Henri Mathieu, Michael Russell and Filippo Volandri.

    Stakhovsky will commence his title defense against Becker in the opening round. With passage into the quarterfinals, the defending champion would look to a possible meeting with the sixth-seeded Istomin. Should he move into the semifinals, Stakhovsky faces a probable clash with either third seed Tipsarevic or seventh seed Chardy.


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