Top seed Rainer Schuettler was knocked out of the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart in the second round by Radek Stepanek on Wednesday.
updated: February 25, 2007 10:08 IST
Stuttgart:Top seed Rainer Schuettler was knocked out of the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart in the second round by Radek Stepanek on Wednesday. The German, who had had a bye in the first round, took the first set on a tiebreak, but the Czech fought back to win the next two for a 6-7 (6-8), 6-3 6-2 victory. Mariano Zabaleta, recently crowned champion of Sweden, beat Marc Lopez of Spain 7-6 (7-2), 6-2. Top seed Rainer Schuettler, who had had a bye in the first round, had the home crowd behind him on Wednesday when he met unseeded Radek Stepanek in the second round of Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart. The former Australian Open finalist, who reached the quarter-final stage in Stuttgart last year, began the match strongly and won the first set 8-6 on a tiebreak. The Czech fought back in the second set, breaking serve for 4-2 and then held to level the match 6-3. Stepanek then went up a break for a 2-1 lead in the third. Schuettler dropped his serve once more and Stepanek won in just under two hours to improve his career record against the German to 4-2. The final score was 6-7 (6-8), 6-3, 6-2. Schuettler, who suffered his tenth opening match defeat of the year, followed compatriots Alexander Popp and Bjorn Phau out of the tournament to round off a bad day for German tennis. Mariano Zabaleta, fresh from winning the Swedish Open title in Bastad on Monday, was taken to a to tiebreak by Marc Lopez of Spain in the first set. The eighth seed won that comfortably, dropping only two points. He was more destructive in the second set and booked a place in the round, winning 7-6 (7-2), 6-2. (AP)