Lapentti overcomes illness

Nicolas Lapentti, the fourth seed, overcame a stomach complaint to beat Olivier Rochus of Belgium 7-6, 7-6 and move into the third round of the Japan Open in Tokyo yesterday.

Nicolas Lapentti, the fourth seed, overcame a stomach complaint to beat Olivier Rochus of Belgium 7-6, 7-6 and move into the third round of the Japan Open in Tokyo yesterday.

Lapentti had trouble finding any rhythm in the baseline duel against Rochus, who won the Palermo Open 11 days ago, and relied on chip-and-charge tactics to break up rallies and pressurise his 19-year-old opponent in the tie-breaks.

Lapentti said he had been battling stomach flu and felt he might have lost had he not won the second set tie-break. "I was feeling a little bit weak. If I would have gone to three sets, I think I would have lost my chance.

"Rochus has been playing some good tennis in the last few weeks. I had to play great tennis to beat him, and we had two close games with two tie-breaks. I was lucky to win. I was sick last night with an upset stomach. I didn't take any food all day, and I felt somewhat weak and tired in the second set when I had to go to the bathroom."

The Slovakian Dominik Hrbaty, the seventh seed who was beaten in the first round of last week's Salem Open in Hong Kong, looked edgy as he defeated the Italian Laurence Tieleman 7-6, 7-5.

The British No 5 Barry Cowan lost to another unseeded player, Sergi Bruguera of Spain, 6-4 6-3, while Olivier Rochus's brother, Christophe, who was seeded 16th, and Mariano Zabaleta of Argentina, the 11th seed, were also beaten. Zabaleta lost to the qualifier Kalle Flygt of Sweden 7-6, 3-6, 6-3 and Rochus succumbed to the Italian Andrea Gaudenzi 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.

In the women's event, the only seeded casualty was Anna Smashnova of Israel. The eighth seed was beaten in straight sets, 6-1, 7-6, by Miroslava Vavrinec of Switzerland.

The American Kristina Brandi, the third seed, easily beat her compatriot Tracy Almeda-Singian 6-2, 6-0, while the fifth-seeded Tamarine Tanasugarn of Thailand beat Iroda Tulyaganova of Uzbekistan 6-3, 6-2.

The top-seeded Julie Halard-Decugis of France and Amy Frazier of the United States, the second seed, had first-round byes.

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