Ferrer, Tsonga advance in Valencia
Valencia, Spain – Top-seeded and defending champion David Wilfried Tsonga were a pair of first- round winners Tuesday at the $1.905 million Valencia Open.
Ferrer blew past fellow Spaniard Fernando Verdasco 6-3, 6-2 on the indoor hardcourts at Valencia's City of Arts and Sciences. Verdasco was the winner of this tournament back in 2004, when it was a clay-court event.
The world No. 5 Ferrer beat Marcel Granollers in last year's all-Spanish Valencia finale, also captured this event in 2008, and was the runner-up here in 2005.
Up next for Ferrer will be Canadian qualifier Vasek Pospisil on Wednesday.
A second-seeded Tsonga, meanwhile, smacked 10 aces and stayed hot with a 4-6, 7-5, 6-2 come-from-behind victory over 19-year-old Spanish wild card Javier Marti.
"He played better than me in the first set, but after that I recovered," said Tsonga, who is fresh off his title in Vienna, where he beat former U.S. Open champion Juan Martin del Potro in the final.
Tsonga will face American Sam Querrey in the round of 16.
Fourth-seeded and two-time Valencia champion Nicolas Almagro's exited the draw on Tuesday, as Argentine Juan Monaco ousted the Spaniard in 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 fashion. Almagro titled here back-to-back in 2006 and 2007 and was the 2008 Valencia runner-up.
Third-seeded Frenchman Gael Monfils leveled Spaniard Albert Montanes 6-3, 6-1, while the aforementioned Granollers continued his fine play at this event with a 6-3, 6-4 upset of seventh-seeded Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov. Montanes was a Valencia finalist back in 2004.
Another Spanish winner on Day 2 was former world No. 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero, who handled Russian qualifier Igor Kunitsyn 6-4, 7-6 (7-2). The former French Open champion Ferrero was a clay-court Valencia titlist in 1999 and 2003.
Spaniards have won six of the last eight titles in Valencia, which was staged on clay through 2008.
Additional Tuesday wins came for South African Kevin Anderson and Querrey, who saw his first action since June and topped Latvian Ernests Gulbis 6-3, 6-4.
The 2011 Valencia titlist will collect $455,000.