Falla upsets Young in Auckland

Associated Press  |  Last updated January 09, 2012
Alejandro Falla overcame a slow start to beat Donald Young 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 on Monday, knocking the seventh-seeded American out of the Heinken Open in its first round. The Colombian struggled at first in windy conditions and fell behind 4-0 in the opening set before settling into his game while Young tired and succumbed to 65 unforced errors. Young had dominated the opening games with a strong serve and heavy forehand, allowing Falla only three points on serve in the first four games. But Falla improved quickly, recovering to 5-4 before ultimately losing the first set, then staying unbroken in the second and third sets while Young's serving declined. Falla's second-round opponent will be either Spain's Albert Montanes or Italy's Potito Starace. He is in the same quarter of the draw as top-seeded two-time champion David Ferrer. ''I'm very happy that I could get there. It was a very tough day to play because it was very windy,'' the 74th-ranked Falla said. ''It made it very difficult for both of us. He played well in the early games but I concentrated on moving my feet more and started to get more confident in my game. ''We both made a lot of unforced errors, which is normal in windy conditions, but I'm very happy with the way I played.'' Young impressively swept through the first four games, breaking Falla to love in the second game and allowing him only one point on serve in the fourth. He also put more than 90 percent of first serves in play, which gave Falla few break point opportunities. But Young began to falter from the fifth game on and grew increasingly frustrated. He dropped serve in the fifth and ninth games of the first set, then picked himself up to break Falla at 40-15 in the 10th game, to take the set. Falla may have lost the opening frame but his confidence had grown. He began to move more smoothly around the court while Young was less able to counter the wind and bring his laser forehand into play. The 22-year-old left-hander, who lifted his world ranking from 129 to 39 in 2011, gradually lost belief in his aggressive playing style as the errors mounted. He lost serve in the third game of the second set and again in the ninth game to give up the set in 42 minutes. He then lost the deciding set with a single service break in the eighth game. Sixth-seeded Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil beat Rui Machado of Portugal 6-3, 7-6 (3) to also advance to the second round. Bellucci was too strong for Machado who played a mainly defensive game. ''He played good defense so it was a good match for me today,'' Bellucci said. ''My serve helped me a lot and it was important to concentrate and put a high percentage of serves in play.'' Bellucci advanced to a second-round clash with either Belgium's Olivier Rochus or German wildcard Tobias Kamke.
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