Valencia: Top-seeded David Ferrer laboured past a stubborn Olivier Rochus 7-5, 7-5 Tuesday at the Valencia Open, where Nicolas Almagro sent former No. 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero into retirement with his own first-round victory.
Rochus saved five break points before succumbing to Ferrer on serve in the 10th game of the second set. The fifth-ranked Spaniard then held on despite 42 unforced errors, releasing a big sigh of relief after closing it out in 2 hours, 13 minutes when the Belgian netted.
Almagro dispatched Ferrero 7-5, 6-3 in an all-Spanish matchup that capped a 13-year career that included Ferrero reaching the top ranking in 2001. He also won 16 titles, including the 2003 French Open.
The Spaniard laboured past a stubborn Olivier Rochus 7-5, 7-5.
Almagro not only helps his chances of reaching the World Tour Finals with each win but of maintaining his position as a singles player for Spain in next month's Davis Cup final at the Czech Republic. Feliciano Lopez's hopes of replacing him were dealt a blow with a 6-3, 7-6 (4) loss to Sam Querrey of the United States, who plays Almagro next.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will have to clinch his place for next month's season-ending World Tour Finals at the Paris Masters after the Frenchman retired with a back injury trailing 3-1 against Xavier Malisse of Belgium.
Tsonga holds the eighth and final qualifying spot ahead of Serbia's Janko Tipsarevic, who hurt his chances after also retiring to injury trailing 5-4 against Gilles Simon of France.
Alexandr Dolgopolov and Jurgen Melzer both won their first-round matches.