Sao Paulo: Soon-to-retire Fernando Gonzalez of Chile fell to Igor Andreev of Russia 6-2, 6-3 in the first round of the Brazil Open ATP tournament on Tuesday.
The 31-year-old Gonzalez, who last week said he will play only two other events before retiring, lost to the big-serving Russian qualifier in just more than an hour. Gonzalez had the support of the Brazilian crowd but won only six points on Andreev’s service games.
“I was happy, I tried to enjoy all the moments because I know the end of my career is near,” said Gonzalez, currently ranked 266th in the world.
The former No. 5 in the world announced he was retiring because he lacks the energy to play at the top level after a series of back, knee and hip injuries in recent years.
He will play the Copa Claro in Argentina in the next few weeks and then will end his career after the Masters tournament next month in Miami. Gonzalez won 11 ATP events and the three Olympic medals—gold, silver and bronze. He reached the final of the 2007 Australian Open, losing in straight sets to Roger Federer, and was a semifinalist at the 2009 French Open.
Earlier, fifth-seeded Carlos Berlocq of Argentina defeated Eric Prodon of France 6-4, 6-0. The 42nd-ranked Berlocq, runner-up at the Vina Del Mar VTR Open last week, saved five break points in the first set. He cruised to victory with three straight service breaks in the second, with Prodon double-faulting four times.
Spanish qualifier Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo, the oldest player in the main draw at 34, needed 2 hours to defeat Rui Machado of Portugal 6-3, 1-6, 6-2. Romania’s Victor Hanescu beat Joao Souza of Brazil, 6-3, 6-3.
South America’s biggest city is hosting the clay-court event for the first time after 11 editions in the northeastern city of Costa do Sauipe.