Del Potro falls at first hurdle in Tokyo

Tokyo: Former U.S. Open champion Juan Martin del Potro`s inauspicious return from a long injury-lay-off continued on Monday after he was bounced out of the Japan Open in the first round for the second year running.

The towering Argentine fell to sixth seed Feliciano Lopez of Spain in a 6-3 6-0 thrashing six days after crashing out of the Thailand Open at the first hurdle.

Del Potro, who won last year`s U.S. Open but had been sidelined since January with a wrist injury, made his comeback in Bangkok last week and looked no less rusty in Tokyo.

A red-hot favourite for the Japan Open title last year, del Potro was humiliated by a qualifier in the first round.

World number one Rafa Nadal heads this year`s field at the $1.1 million Japan Open along with American Andy Roddick and 2009 Tokyo winner Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

Seventh seed Ernests Gulbis of Latvia suffered an 6-3 6-4 upset at the hands of Russian Dmitry Tursunov in the first round on Monday.

Spain`s Daniel Gimeno-Traver beat Argentine Eduardo Schwank of Argentina 6-4 6-4.

Nadal faces world number 63 Santiago Giraldo of Colombia in his Japan Open debut on Tuesday.

Bureau Report

New Delhi: The Indian Air Force Monday said
that 50 per cent of its systems and equipment were obsolete
and steps were being taken to bring down the obsolescence
levels in the next four to five years.

"The obsolescence percentage is 50 per cent," Air
Chief Marshal PV Naik said here adding that "by 2014-15, it
would come down to 20 per cent".

The IAF chief was addressing his annual press
conference on the Air Force Day held on October 8 every year.

Asked which was the most critical area for the force
in this regard, Naik said, "Air Defence. That will be the only

The Air Chief made it clear that even with 50 per cent
obsolete equipment, the IAF was capable of handling threats
from the medium of air and space. "We are fully capable of
defending the country from any threat."

At present, IAF relies mainly on its Russian-origin
air defence systems such as the OSA-AK and Pechora and the
shoulder-fired Igla missiles, which have been in service for
over two decades.

In the recent past, the IAF has been working on
developing its air defence network and is looking to procure
various systems in this regard.

It has already ordered for over six squadrons of the
indigenously-made Akash air defence systems and the Spyder
Medium-range Surface to Air Missile (MR-SAM) system from
Israel along with aerostat radars to prevent any aerial

The force is looking at deploying low-level and
medium-level transportable radars at different locations and
is also planning to procure radars for being deployed in high
altitude areas along the borders with China and Pakistan.