Tennis-Davydenko brushes aside scandal to win in China

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BEIJING, Sept 11 (Reuters) Top seed Nikolay Davydenko cast aside any worries about his impending date with a betting scandal inquiry to move into the second round of the China Open after a 6-3 6-3 victory over American Zack Fleishman.

The world number four faces questioning from an investigation into a match in Poland last month that attracted unusual betting patterns, but today it was business as usual for the hardworking Russian.

''The ATP are not against me, I have a very good family who support me and that keeps my concentration on my match and on my tournament every week,'' said the 26-year-old, adding that the questioning would now take place after Russia's Davis Cup semi-final against Germany next week.

Showing no signs of fatigue after hot-footing it to the Chinese capital from his second successive US Open semi-final defeat, Davydenko took an hour and seven minutes to set up a second-round tie against Croatia's Marin Cilic.

The Russian, who is playing in his 26th tournament of the year, clinched the first set when Fleishman double-faulted then broke at 4-3 in the second before serving out to claim victory.

''Coming from the U.S. Open and playing the next day after a long flight, it's tough,'' he added. ''I slept today in the locker room and took some painkillers for my head.'' British betting company Betfair voided bets on Davydenko's match against Argentine Martin Vasallo Arguello in Sopot in early August. The Russian won the first set and then retired hurt.

''The press are saying I've done something wrong but this has nothing to do with me,'' Davydenko said.

Defending champion Marcos Baghdatis, who became Cyprus's first ATP tournament winner here last year, was given a torrid time by Chinese qualifier Zeng Shaoxuan before winning his first round match 7-6 7-5.

Backed by a partisan crowd, the 25-year-old Zeng never gave up and every time the Cypriot thought he had pegged his opponent back, the world number 794 bounced back with some fine clutch tennis.

He broke when Baghdatis was serving for the first set to force a tiebreak and although the former Australian Open finalist took that 7-3, Zeng broke again to open the second set.

Baghdatis is no mean battler himself, though, and he restored equilibrium in the next game before overcoming some stiff rearguard action to end China's interest in the tournament after one hour and 48 minutes.

''He played very good,'' said Baghdatis, 22. ''I wasn't at my best today and that made him tougher than it ought to be.

''I have to work hard over the next couple of days to get some momentum. If play like this I won't go very far.'' Fourth seeded Croatian Ivan Ljubicic had an altogether easier passage in to the second round with a 6-3 6-4 victory over Japanese qualifier Kei Nishikori.

German Nicolas Kiefer, still on the comeback trail after a year out with a wrist injury and playing as a wildcard, won his opening encounter against Israeli Dudi Sela 6-2 6-3.

Reuters PDS RS2136

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