Robby Ginepri continues comeback

IRVING, Tex. --
Dallas continues to be fertile ground for former U.S. Open semifinalist Robby Ginepri's ongoing tennis comeback.

After reaching the singles final of last month's $100,000 Challenger of Dallas last month, Ginepri returned to town this week and scored a 6-4, 6-4 win Tuesday over former Baylor star Benjamin Becker in the first round of the $125,000 Dallas Tennis Classic in Las Colinas.

On the recovery trail after a series of injuries, Ginepri began the week ranked No. 294 in the world. Becker is 91st.

Ginepri, now 30 and nearly eight years removed from his trip to the U.S. Open semis in 2005, was a wild-card entrant into both this tournament and the Challenger event at T Bar M Racquet Club in early February. He'll face fifth-seeded Jurgen Melzer of Austria in the second round.

Becker and fellow German Philipp Petzschner -- who plays his first-round singles match Wednesday at the Four Seasons Resort and Club against Japan's Go Soeda -- are friends with Dallas Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki and having been growing out their beards in support of their countryman's vow, along with every other Maverick, not to shave until the Mavs make it back to .500.

In Tuesday's other big singles match, Austria's Melzer -- formerly ranked as high as No. 8 in the world -- was pushed to the brink of elimination by Jan Hajek of the Czech Republic before pulling out a second-set tiebreaker and ultimately claiming a 4-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-1 victory.

Melzer and Petzchner, who've combined to win both Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in doubles, are playing doubles at the Dallas Tennis Classic as well and are seeded No. 1 as a team.

Top-seeded Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus plays his first-round singles match Wednesday on the stadium court (not before 4 p.m.) against Holland's Igor Sijsling, after second-seeded Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil meets Ukraine's Sergiy Stakhovsky.

The first two matches on the stadium court Wednesday at the Four Seasons feature Americans: Wild-card entrant Bobby Reynolds takes on Japan's Tatsuma Ito and Houston-based Michael Russell plays Belgium's sixth-seeded David Goffin.