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Baghdatis opens Sydney tournament with win

Jan. 8, 2007 at 3:53 PM

SYDNEY, Jan. 8 (UPI) -- Fourth-seeded Marcos Baghdatis was a straight-set winner Monday in the first round of the Medibank International tennis tournament in Sydney.

Baghdatis, from Cyprus, opened one of the last tune-ups for the Australian Open with a 7-6 (7-3), 6-1 victory over Latvian Ernest Gulbis. Baghdatis was the runner-up in last year's Australian Open to Roger Federer.

Two other seeded players opened Medibank play Monday with fifth-seeded Czech Tomas Berdych stopping Australian Robert Smeets, 6-2, 7-5, and Spaniard Fernando Verdasco upsetting eighth-seeded Frenchman Sebastien Grosjean, 6-4, 6-4.

Also winning first-round matches were American Robby Ginepri, Russian Evgeny Korolev, Czech Jan Hernych and German Benjamin Becker.

Tuesday's first-round action sees top-seeded Spaniard Rafael Nadal, second-seeded Russian Nikolay Davydenko and defending champion American James Blake, who is seeded third, entering play.

The $436,000 Medibank International continues through Sunday. The champion takes home a check for $57,750.

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