Malisse, Rochus advance in Auckland

Malisse, Rochus advance in Auckland
January 7, 2013, 5:27 am
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AUCKLAND, New Zealand (AP) Belgian veterans Olivier Rochus and Xavier Malisse both beat higher-ranked opponents to advance to the second round of the Heineken Open on Monday, and American Brian Baker continued his surprising comeback by ousting fifth-seeded Jerzy Janowicz of Poland 4-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4.

The 89th-ranked Rochus, who reached the final in Auckland for the second time last year but needed a wild card to enter the main draw this time, beat 51st-ranked Albert Ramos of Spain 6-2, 5-7, 6-2. The 30-year-old Belgian's victory improved his record in singles in Auckland to 14-7.

Baker returned to the ATP Tour last year after a six-year absence and, after reaching the fourth round at Wimbledon, has lifted his ranking to No. 61.

``The conditions were very, very tough,'' Rochus said of the swirling wind at the Auckland Tennis Center. ``They were some of the toughest conditions I've ever played in and I'm very happy to have won and to be able to continue.

``It was the windiest conditions I've ever played in and the wind was going all over the place. Fortunately, I kept my mind focused and I was able to win.''

Rochus will play fourth-seeded Sam Querrey of the United States in the second round. The top four seeded players in the Heineken Open - David Ferrer, Philipp Kohlschreiber, Tommy Haas and Querrey - received byes into the second round.

Earlier, the 32-year-old Malisse beat seventh-seeded Martin Klizan of Slovakia 7-6 (4), 3-6, 6-4. Malisse is ranked No. 62.

Also, eighth-seeded Thomasz Bellucci of Brazil defeated David Goffin of Belgium 7-6 (5), 6-2.