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Ferrer launches Japan Open campaign

World number five David Ferrer launched his campaign of his Japan Open title in style Wedesday, pulverising American Jesse Levineís serve-and-volley game.

Top seed Ferrer downed Levine, ranked 101 in the world, in the second round 6-4, 4-6, 6-1 in a return to form for the Spaniard who was unceremoniously dumped in his first match in Beijing last week.

ďEvery week is different. Today I played good. It was a very tough match. Levine has good power and I had to fight to beat him,Ē said Ferrer.

ďItís important to win in the first round (first match), because sometimes it is difficult to play. Iím happy with my game today,Ē added the defending champion, who received a first-round bye.

American second seed Andy Roddick, fresh from winning at Beijing last weekend, had to work hard against Ivo Minar of the Czech Republic before prevailing 7-6 (13/11), 6-7 (4/7), 7-6 (7/2) in two hours 35 minutes.

Last yearís finalist Richard Gasquet of France, seeded four, was a solid 6-4, 6-2 winner over qualifier Martin Slanar of Austria to also advance.

After taking the first set, Levine fought back to clinch the second, breaking Ferrer early after the Spaniard double faulted and hit a forehand wide. But Levineís serve-and-volley game collapsed in the second game of the third when he hit a backhand volley long at deuce before seeing Ferrer fire off a sizzling forehand passing shot to jump ahead 2-0.

It was smooth sailing for Ferrer from then on, the Spaniard allowing Levine to hold only one game before wrapping up the 107-minute match with a fifth ace on his first match point.

Gasquet set up a third-round meeting with Japanese teenage sensation Kei Nishikori who upset Spainís Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-4, 6-4.

ďI saw him (Nishikori) playing for the first time yesterday. He is really, really talented. Iím sure he will be one day in the top 10,Ē Gasquet said.

ďHe has a good ground stroke from the baseline, forehand, backhand, he runs so well. Maybe I have more experience, so Iíll try to fight and play my good game,Ē added the 22-year-old Gasquet.

On the womenís side, Tamarine Tanasugarn of Thailand and Kaia Kanepi of Estonia reached the quarter-finals, but sixth seed Shahar Peer of Israel crashed to Jarmila Gajdosova of Slovakia 5-7, 6-1, 7-6 (11/9).

Seventh seed Tamarine powered past Camille Pin of France 6-2, 6-2, while fifth seed Kanepi shrugged off a slow start to beat Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium 3-6, 6-1, 6-0. TOKYO, AFP

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