Seppi upsets Baghdatis in Vienna opening round

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VIENNA, Oct 8 (Reuters) Italy's Andreas Seppi pulled off an early upset at the Vienna Open today with a 6-2 6-2 defeat of eighth seed Marcos Baghdatis Playing the 2006 Australian Open finalist for the first time, Seppi made light work of their encounter, breaking Baghdatis four times without reply.

In an error-strewn display, the Cypriot world number 21 surrendered the first break with a wide forehand shot at the end of the third game.

He double-faulted in the seventh game to hand Seppi a further break point, which the Italian promptly converted before serving out to love to clinch the opening set.

Any hopes of a trademark Baghdatis fightback proved misplaced in the second set as a string of mistakes put the favourite a further break down.

Leading 40-0 in the penultimate game of the match, the Cypriot then dropped five consecutive points to put the result beyond doubt.

Seppi, who is ranked 73rd in the world, has been rewarded with a second round tie against Dutch world number 103 Robin Haase.

Croatia's Ivan Ljubicic began his bid for a third successive Vienna Open title with a straight forward 6-4 7-5 first-round win over Austrian qualifier Andreas Haider-Maurer.

Still in with a chance of reaching the season-ending Masters Cup, Ljubicic benefited from a decisive break midway through the opening set and one more near the end of the second.

The former world number three, who has slipped to 13th in the rankings, showed that his impressive service game has not deserted him, firing up 15 aces to his opponent's three.

Broken in only the third game of the match, Haider-Maurer was offered a lifeline in the fourth when Ljubicic misjudged a smash to gift the Austrian the chance of an immediate reply.

But the world number 254 was unable to build on his good fortune, mishitting a forehand in the next game to restore the Croat's lead.

Ljubicic is now due to face Jiri Vanek after the Czech saw off Croatian qualifier Roko Karanusic 6-7 6-4 7-6.

Tournament top seed Novak Djokovic begins his Vienna campaign on Tuesday in a first-round encounter with American Robby Ginepri.

REUTERS PY BD2316

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