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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Top Seeds Ousted at Cup

In stunning upsets, top seeds Sergi Bruguera and Todd Martin, the fifth- and tenth-ranked players in the world, were knocked out of the Kremlin Cup on Wednesday night, and the home crowd was treated to a rousing come-from-behind victory by Alexander Volkov.


Of the eight seeds, only No. 3 Yevgeny Kafelnikov of Russia, No. 6 Marc Rosset of Switzerland and No. 7 Petr Korda of the Czech Republic are still in contention for the fifth Kremlin Cup title in play at Moscow's Olympic Sports Stadium. Volkov ousted No. 4 seed Wayne Ferreira, the world's 12th-ranked player, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, in a second-round match. Rosset, the defending champion, survived a first-round challenge from Radomir Vasek of the Czech Republic, 6-4, 6-4.


In the biggest upset of the tournament, Bruguera fell to Karol Kucera of Slovakia, ranked 61st in the world, in his first-round match, 3-6, 7-5, 6-4.


Well into the second set it appeared that this would be a typical first round match for Bruguera. Despite flashes of brilliance from the quick-footed Slovakian, Bruguera dominated him with his first serve and topspin forehand.


But down 4-1, 40-30 in the second set, Kucera mounted a ferocious attack on Bruguera's serve, hitting the ball on the rise and for the first time in the match pulling the Spaniard wide and out of position. Up break point, Kucera unfurled a two-handed passing shot by the top seed to put the set back on serve.


Trailing 4-5 the Slovakian unnerved Bruguera with his best service game of the match, cracking three aces and a service winner to even the score at 5-5. Tough service returns put Bruguera down break point and he double-faulted to set Kucera up for an easy service game.


In the third set, Bruguera rallied from a 15-40, 2-4 deficit to close to 4-5. But serving for the set, Kucera did not miss his chance, finishing the match off with a service winner and an ace.


"It's very disappointing because I lost in the first round, and also the way I lost," Bruguera said afterward. "I had the match in my hand."


Earlier, Martin was administered a shocking upset by fellow American Chuck Adams in the second round, 7-6 (7-5), 6-3. Adams, ranked 68th in the world, gave Martin trouble from the start with his strong serving and volleying, making it clear that he too would be difficult to break.


As in his first round match on Monday it appeared Martin was playing lethargically, only springing to life when in trouble. Dumping an easy volley in the net at 5-5, 40-40 which put him down set point in the first set, Martin pounded a backhand crosscourt for a winner and knocked off two aces to bring the set to a tie breaker.


But once the tie breaker started it was all Adams. He openened by hitting a spectacular backhand overhead for a winner, followed by a relentless flurry of passing shots and service winners to run ahead 5-0 and held on, 7-5.


Emboldened by his success in the first set, Adams broke Martin's serve in the first game of the second and continued the pressure with well-placed serves and volleys. Serving at 3-5, the second seed could not escape as Adams ripped a two-handed topspin backhand passing shot past his opponent for triple match point. Two points later a slightly mis-hit passing shot dropped below Martin's racket and he was sent packing.


Losing the first-set tie breaker and then the first game of the second set was critical, Martin said after the match. "From there it's pretty difficult to fight back when your opponent is playing with as much confidence as Chuck has," he said.


Minutes after Martin lost, the crowd erupted in a standing ovation for Volkov, who rallied after a 3-6 loss in the first set to equalize with a 6-3 win in the second. Volkov then earned the key break in the middle of the third set to go up 4-3. Serving for the match at 5-4, the lanky Russian left-hander saved a game point at 30-40 with a service winner, then closed out the set by forcing Ferreira to hit deep at deuce and wide at match point.


In other matches Wednesday, Carl-Uwe Steeb beat Andrea Gaudenzi of Italy, 6-2, 6-3, and Daniel Vacek of the Czech Republic beat Hendrik Dreekman of Germany, 5-7, 6-4, 6-1.