Seeds squeezed out at revamped Eastbourne

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The Independent Online

The Seeded players Paul-Henri Mathieu of France and Italian Andreas Seppi bowed out in straight sets on the opening day of the ATP grass-court tournament at Eastbourne yesterday. A week before the start of Wimbledon, the third-seeded Mathieu fell 6-4, 6-2 to Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia, and the seventh-seeded Seppi was beaten 7-6, 7-5 by Croatia's Ivan Ljubicic.

Mathieu struggled throughout the one hour 27-minute match, facing 17 break points. He was unable to save one in the first set and two in the second, while his opponent held off two of two break points, both in the first set.

In the other upset, both players had opportunities in the first set, with Ljubicic holding four break points and Seppi three. In the second set, although Ljubicic failed to save the only break point he faced he was able to break Seppi twice to earn victory.

The American Robby Ginepri eased to a 6-3, 6-4 win over Andrei Golubev of Kazakhstan, and Ukbekistan's Denis Istomin defeated American Kevin Kim 7-6 (5), 7-5.

This year's tournament features men and women for the first time. While the men's draw has attracted just two players ranked in the top 30, only three of the top 10 women players are absent.

*Britain's Laura Robson was defeated in the third of her exhibition matches against the Ukrainian Olga Savchuk at the Nottingham Masters yesterday. Robson, 15, who is set to become the youngest player in the women's draw at SW19 since Martina Hingis played in 1995 aged 14, lost 6-4 6-4.