Kafelnikov fails on clay - again

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The Independent Online

Argentina's Juan Ignacio Chela wasted little time in finishing off top seed and world number two Yevgeny Kafelnikov in thesecond round of the Mallorca Open.

Chela, ranked 34th in the ATP CHampions Race, won three games in a row to take their interrupted match 5-7 6-0 6-3.

Kafelnikov, a former French Open champion, has now won just two matches in four tournaments on clay this year. Last year he opened his claycourt season by losing four matches in a row.

Bad light had meant the contest had to be suspended on Wednesday night with the score apparently finely poised at 3-3 in the final set.

However, the seemingly disinterested Russian went down to Chela in just eight minutes.

Kafelnikov's compatriot Marat Safin, the fourth seed in Mallorca, was also made to struggle but finally overcame Norway's Christian Ruud 3-6 7-5 7-5.

Safin, winner of the Barcelona Open on Sunday, is playing in his 11th tournament of the year and has looked weary all week after just one day's break between the two Spanish events.

Former world number one and local favourite Carlos Moya showed a lot more sparkle than Safin when setting up a quarter-final meeting with the Valencia-based Russian.

The Spaniard, seeded fifth, beat the Argentine qualifier Guillermo Coria 6-3 6-3.


Third Round Alberto Martin, Spain, def. Alberto Berasta (6), Argentina, def. Juan Antonio Marin, Costa Rica, 6-1, 6-2. Carlos Moya, Spain, def. Guillermo Coria, Argentina, 6-3, 6-3.

Second Round Juan Ignacio Chela, Argentina, def. Yevgeny Kafelnikov (1), Russia, 5-7, 6-0, 6-3.