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Marcos Baghdatis returns a shot to Jarkko Nieminen.
Ezra Shaw Staff
Marcos Baghdatis returns a shot to Jarkko Nieminen.

Rusty Baghdatis makes early exit

The former Australian Open finalist Marcos Baghdatis crashes out of the Brisbane International with a first round loss to Finland's Jarkko Nieminen.

SYDNEY // The former Australian Open finalist Marcos Baghdatis crashed out of the Brisbane International with a first round loss to Finland's Jarkko Nieminen on Monday. Baghdatis, who developed a cult following in Australia during his fairytale run to the 2006 Australian Open final, squandered an early lead to lose 5-7, 6-1, 6-4. The Cypriot struggled with a back injury and is still facing problems at the start of the new season, requiring treatment to a troublesome hamstring during the match. "I'm not match fit and it's the thing I need to work on for the next 15 days before my next tournament," he said.

"The leg was a bit [sore], pushing me down I couldn't push on the left one but I'm happy I played a very good first set." Juergen Melzer , of Austria, beat the sixth seed Mardy Fish, from the US, 6-4, 4-6,7-6, while the Czech eighth seed Radek Stepanek beat Russian Igor Kunitsyn 6-2, 6-2. In the women's event Slovakia's Daniela Hantuchova made a hasty exit when she lost her opening round match to Italian Sara Errani 6-7 6-4 6-0.

The Italian eighth seed Francesca Schiavone lost to Belarussian Olga Govortsova 7-5, 6-2 and Japan's Ai Sugiyama, seeded ninth, fell to Australia's Sam Stosur 6-2, 6-3. Amelie Mauresmo of France safely booked her placed in the second round with a tight 7-6, 7-6 win over Jelena Dokic, who was playing her first professional match since May. * Reuters

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