Blake advances; Gonzalez upset at Countrywide Classic

7/17/2007 - Tennis

LOS ANGELES -- American Zach Fleishman, playing just his
second career match against a top 10 player, upset top-seeded
Fernando Gonzalez, 7-6 (5), 6-4, to close out the first round of
the Countrywide Classic on Tuesday night.

Fleishman's upset came after James Blake, the No. 2 seed, beat
Alexander Peya of Austria 7-5, 6-4.

The day's other upset came in the afternoon, when No. 4 seed
David Nalbandian lost, 7-6 (5), 7-5 to Igor Kunitsyn, a Russian
ranked 99th on the ATP Tour.

Meanwhile, Americans Mardy Fish, Vincent Spadea and
Robert Kendrick joined Fleishnman, Blake and Paul Goldstein in the second
round of the $525,000 event. Fish, the No. 6 seed, beat doubles
partner Sam Querrey, 7-5, 6-4; Spadea eliminated Thiago Alves of
Brazil, 7-6 (2), 6-2; Goldstein toppled Adrian Garcia of Chile,
6-3, 5-7, 6-4, and Kendrick was a 6-4, 6-3 winner over
Wesley Whitehouse of South Africa.

"I beat a top 10 player at my former college, in my hometown,
at a place where I've practiced since I was 9 years old," said
Fleishman, who now is 2-2 in tour matches this year and 5-12
lifetime. "My pure strategy coming in was to play my game and if I
needed to adjust I would."

Gonzalez, ranked sixth in the world, at one point called for the
trainer for an unspecified back problem. He also tossed his racket
after Fleishman got a service break to go up 2-1 in the second set.
Fleishman held for 3-1 and they played the rest of the match on

Blake, playing before a crowd of 5,561 that included NBA star
Kevin Garnett and tennis star Serena Williams, won both sets of the
71-minute match with service breaks on the final game, then said he
was satisfied with his play overall.

"A win is a good feeling, no matter it happens," said Blake,
ranked ninth in the world. "I was really pleased with the way I
served and took care of my serve. He only had one break point the
whole day and I came up with many first serves. That was definitely
a very good feeling."

Fish won 12 of his first 16 matches this year, before losing
eight straight matches and 10 of 11. He slipped to No. 40 in the
rankings and made this tournament as a wild card.

Querrey has been struggling as well, and lost his seventh
straight match. Querrey said he played tentatively "the whole
time, especially on my backhand. It's getting frustrating. You
start second-guessing yourself."

In other day matches, Ricardo Mello of Brazil beat American
Phillip King 6-4, 6-2; Wesley Moodie of South Africa spoiled the
tour debut of Kei Nishikori of Japan, 6-3, 6-2; and Radek Stepanek
of the Czech Republic advanced when Great Britain's Alex Bogdanovic
retired because of a back problem after losing the opening set,

After winning the first-set tiebreaker, Kunitsyn won the first
three games of the second set and had break point for a 4-0 lead.
But he missed a volley, and that enabled Nalbandian to regroup. The
Argentine, a Wimbledon finalist in 2002, won that game and the next
four to go ahead, 5-3.

Kunitsyn then won the final four games.

"He's one of the toughest players. He never gives up,"
Kunitsyn said. "I was prepared that he would always be there and
that helped me so much."