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Federer’s friend Marco through in Basel

Tomic suffers third consecutive first-round loss after thrashing by Youzhny

Gulf News

Basel, Switzerland: Marco Chiudinelli fired over a welcome ace on his fourth match point to post a 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 defeat of Spaniard Guillermo Garcia Lopez to reach the second round of the Swiss Indoors on Tuesday.

Chiudinelli is a childhood friend of Roger Federer, with both growing up in Basel and playing football before finally switching to tennis.

The 31-year-old is a month younger than his celebrated compatriot, who has earned 73 million dollars in prize money to the 1.2 million dollars of Chiudinelli, ranked 149th and a wildcard entry into his hometown event.

Chiudinelli reached the only ATP-level semi-final of his career at the St Jakobshalle in 2009 when he faced Federer in a battle of locals.

The journeyman Swiss will test himself in a bid for his first quarter-final since 2010 when he plays third seed Richard Gasquet.

Fourth seed Stanislas Wawrinka was hoping to join his compatriots as he opened against veteran Russian campaigner Nikolay Davydenko, playing the tournament for the first time in a decade.

Federer, meanwhile, was awaiting an opponent in the second round as last week’s Moscow finalist Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil faced Japan’s Go Soeda.

The Swiss top seed has won five of the last six Basel editions and made the event a starting point for a trophy hat-trick to end the 2011 season.

But the world number one is making no promises about a repeat.

“It should not be my goal now to try and win all three again. The first goal is to see how I play here and take it from there.

“I have to think day by day. It’s simple, it’s pretty routine, but it’s my only way to handle these next couple of crazy weeks.”

Russian sixth seed Mikhail Youzhny handed slumping Australian Bernard Tomic another disappointment 6-0, 6-2, marking number 48 Tomic’s third consecutive loss in a first round.

The 20-year-old has not won in a month, when he reached the Bangkok second round. He went down in less than an hour, winning only eight points in the first set.

Matthew Ebden levelled the day’s score for the Aussies with his defeat of Romanian Victor Hanescu 6-3, 7-6 (7/3).

American Brian Baker beat Radek Stepanek 2-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-3 after the Czech veteran had to qualify as he missed the entry deadline for Basel.