American Pete Sampras beat Wayne Ferreira of South Africa 7-6 (6), 5-7, 6-4 Tuesday to advance to the second round of the Toronto Masters Series.
“It’s just great to win a match,” said Sampras, who has gone 30 tournaments without a win since winning Wimbledon two years ago. “It’s been a struggle this year.”
Sampras, the No. 13 seed, will play South Korea’s Hyung-taik Lee on Wednesday.
The former No. 1 Sampras laid down a precise tiebreaking shot to squeak through in the first set, glancing up with a smile after his timely delivery. He finished with 23 aces.
Andy Roddick of the United States, the 12th seed, defeated Dominik Hrbaty of Slovenia 6-2, 6-4. He will take on Ecuador’s Nicolas Lapentti, who beat Gaston Gaudio of Argentina 7-6 (2), 7-6 (2), in the next round.
Second-seeded Russian Marat Safin is now the favorite to win the US$2.95-million tournament since top-seeded Lleyton Hewitt of Australia lost Monday.
Safin, 22, breezed past Argentina’s Juan Ignacio Chela 6-4, 6-3 in his first-round match following a post-Wimbledon rest. Safin was knocked out in the second round at Wimbledon.
“I needed a break,” said Safin, who vacationed in Moscow. “I was tired of tennis, mentally and physically, and Wimbledon was horrible. I played bad and I had no motivation. So for a few weeks I did not see a racket, I didn’t see a ball.
“I was enjoying myself so much it was difficult to come back to work but I had to do it and now I’m feeling fresh. Anytime you have a break, you come back feeling better. There is a lot of stress playing tennis at this level.”
In the next round, Safin faces Andrei Pavel of Romania, the 2001 Tennis Masters champion. Pavel advanced when three-time French Open champion Gustavo Kuerten of Brazil was forced to quit in the second set because of a recurring hip injury. Pavel won the first set 7-5.
Third-seeded German Tommy Haas had an easy 6-3, 6-3 win over Canada’s Frederic Niemeyer and will play Sjeng Schalken of the Netherlands in the second round.
Fifth-seeded Russain Yevgeny Kafelnikov extended himself for a 6-4, 6 7 (5), 6-2 win over Max Mirnyi of Belarus. His next opponent will be Younes El Aynaoui of Morocco, who beat Nicolas Kiefer of Germany 6-4, 2-6, 6-4.
Vince Spadea of the United States upset No. 6 seed Albert Costa of Spain 6-3, 6-1 and will next face Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic.
Sebastien Grosjean of France, the No. 11 seed, battled to a 3-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4 win over Czech Bohdan Ulihrach to get a second-round date with Finland’s Jarkko Nieminen, who eliminated Richard Krajicek of the Netherlands 7-5, 6-1.
Daniel Nestor, the last remaining Canadian in the singles draw, was eliminated by Kristian Pless of Denmark 6-3, 4-6, 6-2.
Temperatures reached the mid-90s during the afternoon matches but it was breezier and less humid inside the open stadium than on Monday.