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Tennis | ATP

Aljaz Bedene © Gallo Images

Bedene ruins homecoming for Zeballos; Almagro wins



Aljaz Bedene of Slovenia ruined a homecoming for Horacio Zeballos on Monday, eliminating the Argentine 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-3 in the first round of the Copa Claro tournament at Buenos Aires.

Fifth-seeded Zeballos became a national hero just over a week ago when he defeated seven-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal in the final of the VTR Open in Chile. Expectations were high for him playing at home.

After winning the second-set tiebreaker, Bedene then broke Zeballos in the second game of the deciding set en route to victory.

"It was my first match since August, I think, on clay. So at the beginning I was confused," Bedene said. "I'm really happy with my performance - first round, first win."

Bedene apologised for spoiling the party at the Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis Club.

"Horacio is my good friend, so I feel sorry for him," Bedene said. "But tennis is tennis and somebody has to win."

The No 2 seeded Nicolas Almagro defeated Argentine Guido Pella 6-3, 6-2 as the Spaniard makes a return to playing on clay in Latin America, two of his favourite things.

In 2012, Almagro won on clay in Brazil and was the runner-up in Buenos Aires. In 2011, he won twice in Latin America - in Brazil and Buenos Aires - and was the runner-up in Acapulco, Mexico.

"This trip through Latin America has been very good for me in recent years," Almagro said. "But every year is different."

In other first-round matches, No 4 seed Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil was ousted by Argentine Diego Schwartzman 6-4, 4-6, 6-1, eighth-seeded Albert Ramos of Spain advanced with a 6-1, 6-0 win over Flavio Cipolla of Italy and Federico Delbonis of Argentina moved on with a 6-1, 6-4 victory over Portugal's Joao Sousa.

Top-seeded David Ferrer of Spain plays in the first round Tuesday against Agustin Velotti.

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