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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Safin, Korolyov Win Openers

LAS VEGAS -- Marat Safin beat Stefan Koubek of Austria 7-5, 6-2 in his opening round-robin match at the Tennis Channel Open on Tuesday.

The third-seeded Russian, now 3-0 in his career against Koubek, had to adapt to gusting winds of up to 51 kilometers per hour throughout his match.

"It is very tough," Safin said. "It is difficult to play your very best tennis. You just try to stay as cool as you can and try to attack. That is the only way to try and control the ball."

Safin never trailed and never faced a break point. He made 83 percent of his second serve points compared to 63 percent for Koubek.

Yevgeny Korolyov of Russia knocked off top-seeded James Blake 6-2, 6-4 in a nighttime match. Korolyov started strong and handled the high winds better, taking advantage of several unforced errors.

"I didn't play well. It happens," said Blake, who finished with 34 unforced errors in dropping the match in 59 minutes. "I'm not going to make a ton of excuses. I never really felt that comfortable. My game didn't click at any point."

Despite the loss, Blake could still reach the quarterfinals thanks to the event format. Korolyov dropped his opening match Monday to Juan Martin del Potro 6-3, 6-2, leaving Blake a window to advance if he tops Martin del Potro on Thursday.

By taking four games in the second set, Blake positioned himself to push through to the quarterfinals if he beats Martin del Potro in straight sets while losing five or fewer games.

"When I come into a round-robin tournament, I come in looking to win every match," Blake said. "I guess I'm going to have to figure out the mathematics of it and what I need to do."

Blake had 16 unforced errors in the first game and never recovered, often showing his disgust on the court as more errors mounted.

Korolyov, 19, improved to 2-4 all-time against top-10 players. Ranked No. 99 in the world, he saved all of his break points and didn't have a double fault in the second set.

"I felt I hit the ball better than James," Korolyov said.

Second-seeded Lleyton Hewitt of Australia triumphed over Vincent Spadea 6-3, 6-3.

Hewitt, a two-time event champion and a 2006 finalist, led throughout Tuesday's match. Hewitt is now 7-0 against Spadea.

Several of Hewitt's first serve attempts were delayed when the wind blew the ball several feet away from him. He overcame the wind by winning 80 percent of his second serve points in the first set compared with 40 percent for Spadea.

Seventh seeded Tim Henman, splaying for the first time this year after injury and illness, crushed Nicolas Mahut of France 6-1, 6-2 in his first round-robin match.