Davydenko sees room for improvement
ESTORIL: Former champion Nikolay Davydenko ran away with the opening set but was made to work harder in the second to record a 6-1, 7-6 (7/4) victory on Tuesday against Andrey Golubev of Kazakstan at the Estoril Open.
The second-seeded Russian who claimed the trophy in 2003 and lost last year's final to Roger Federer and the 2006 edition to David Nalbandian, feared a first-round exit after trailing 4-1 in the second set despite sweeping the first.
"I'm just happy to be out of the first round," said the player who missed several months this season with a heel injury and only returned to action in April. "I was afraid at 4-1 down.
"I'm only just back on court and I'm not playing my game yet. My brother (coach) told me that I really need more training."
Davydenko, ranked 11th, has played in only five tournaments this year but won his eight 2009 match against four defeats through the narrow victory.
He next faces a second-round battle after improving his Estoril mark to 14-5 as he plays 2001 champion Juan Carlos Ferrero.
The Spanish veteran last month snapped a six-year pause between titles as he won in Casablanca.
"I'm not looking so far ahead," said title favourite Davydenko. "Only to the next round. After my injury I just need to play matches, the more the better."
Third seed David Ferrer broke his career duck here, earning his first victory in three starts with a 6-4, 6-1 defeat of Daniel Gimeno-Traver.
Spain's number 14 who spent a long time in the top ten, secured the success six years after his last attempt at the Estadio Nacional.
He was joined in the second round by French eighth seed Florent Serra, who put out Argentine Diego Junqueira 6-4, 2-6, 6-3.
Ferrer broke five times against the number 79 Gimeno-Traver as the pair played their first-ever match over 71 minutes.
Serra's four aces against the 73rd-ranked Junquiera were outweighed by six doubt faults as the seed escaped with a win after just over two hours.
On the women's WTA side of the draw defending champion Maria Kirilenko survived a challenging opener to squeeze past Canadian Sharon Fichman 6-7 (8/10), 6-4, 6-3.
Romanian third seed Sorana Cirstea defeated Japan's Kimiko Date Krumm 6-2, 1-6, 6-2 while teenaged fourth-seeded German Sabine Lisicki continued the form which took her to her first senior title on clay in Charleston last month as she began with a defeat of Belgian Kirsten Flipkens 6-2, 6-2.
Belgian Yvonne Wickmayer put out fifth seed Petra Kvitova 6-2, 6-4 while Israeli number seven seed Shahar Peer beat Portugal's lucky loser Michelle Larcherde Brito 4-6, 6-0, 6-0.