LOS ANGELES -- Nicolas Kiefer, playing on a hard court for
the first time in 16 months, moved into the second round of the ATP
Countrywide Classic with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Teimuraz
Gabashvili at the UCLA Tennis Center on Monday.
The 30-year-old Kiefer, now ranked 409th after getting as high
as No. 4, injured his left wrist at last year's French Open. It
took two operations to repair the injury and it kept him off the
tour from June 2, 2006, until this June 11.
He went 2-3 on grass courts before playing his first hardcourt
match since mid-March 2006 at Miami.
"It was the first match on hard court for a long time," said
Kiefer, who lost to countryman Tommy Haas in the 2004 final and was
given a wild card entry into this year's 32-player field. "My
fitness is very good. I just need a few matches and a few wins,
play many balls, and then everything will be good."
Kiefer, who could face No. 4 seed David Nalbandian in the second
round, had seven aces and won 24 of his 27 first-serve points (89
percent) in the 65-minute win over Gabashvili.
Tursunov, who lost to Haas in last year's final, beat Udomchoke
for the fourth time in four matches. Tursunov had eight aces and
won 20 of 22 first-serve points (90 percent).