Originally created 05/12/05

Federer advances; Kuerten loses to Robredo



HAMBURG, Germany - Roger Federer's three-week break must have served him well.

Playing in his first tournament since sitting out to rest swollen feet, the top-ranked Federer easily beat Tomas Berdych 6-2, 6-1 in the second round of the Hamburg Masters on Wednesday.

Federer needed only 53 minutes to get past the 46th-ranked Berdych. He hit 25 winners against six for the Czech, who beat Federer at the Athens Olympics last year.

"He ruined my Olympic dream," said Federer, who lost to Berdych in the round of 32 in their only previous meeting. "I was happy with the way I played (Wednesday). From the start, I felt good."

Federer, who has won five titles this year, is 37-2 overall in 2005. He next faces Tommy Robredo, who beat three-time French Open champion Gustavo Kuerten 6-3, 6-0.

In other matches, Juan Carlos Ferrero rallied to beat third-seeded Marat Safin 4-6, 6-4, 6-2, fifth-seeded Tim Henman beat Greg Rusedski 7-6 (3), 6-4 and 10th-seeded Guillermo Coria beat Mikhail Youzhny 6-2, 6-3.

Ferrero twice broke Safin's serve in the final set. Safin had nine aces but 40 unforced errors to 15 for Ferrero.

Safin later complained about Ferrero's behavior, saying his childhood friend shouldn't have come up to the chair umpire to urge him to make Safin play while the Russian argued a call while trailing 2-0 in the second set.

"He has to be a gentleman. I was really bothered," said Safin, who also accused Ferrero of being coached on "every second point."

Ferrero said the call wasn't important enough for Safin to argue "for three minutes," and that his coach had only commented a couple of times during the match.

"That's not why I won. I hope this doesn't spoil our friendship," he said.

A former No. 1, Ferrero slid down the rankings while sitting out much of 2004 with chicken pox and injuries.

He had to play two qualifying rounds to reach the main draw in Hamburg. He was denied a wild card entry, even though he was in the final in Barcelona and the semifinal at Monte Carlo last month.

"I feel I can beat anyone now," Ferrero said.

While Federer and Ferrero won on the covered center court, Henman and Rusedski had to battle rain and wind whipping the outside court. During a rally, the wind upended a courtside umbrella used to shelter the players, and there were several delays because of intermittent showers.

"It was very, very difficult," Henman said. "I don't know if I've played in more difficult conditions."

Henman complained about the state of the court, saying it should be covered during the rain.

"On a sodden court like that, it's difficult to play the level of tennis you'd expect from such a field. That court is not good enough," he said.

The $2.7 million tournament is a major warm-up for the French Open, which starts May 23.

In other results, 2004 French Open champion Gaston Gaudio dispatched 2002 winner Albert Costa, 7-5, 6-0; Christophe Rochus beat 13th-seeded Ivan Ljubicic 6-4, 6-2; Dominik Hrbaty defeated 16th-seeded Radek Stepanek 7-5, 7-6 (2), and French teenager Richard Gasquet came back to beat Olympic champion Nicolas Massu 2-6, 6-2, 6-2.

Also, Juan Ignacio Chela beat Robin Soderling 6-1, 6-4; No. 15 seeded Nikolay Davydenko ousted Mariano Puerta 7-5, 6-3; Jiri Novak topped Juan Monaco 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (6); Mario Ancic defeated Fernando Gonzalez 6-3, 7-6 (1); and Sebastien Grosjean rallied past Nicolas Kiefer 2-6, 6-3, 6-4.