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Bedene tops Zeballos at Copa Claro tournament

2/18/2013 8:38:00 PM

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) - Aljaz Bedene of Slovenia ousted Horacio Zeballos of Argentina 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-3 in the first round of the Copa Claro tournament on Monday.

The fifth-seeded Zeballos defeated seven-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal in the final of the VTR Open in Chile just over a week ago.

Expectations were high for him playing at home.

After winning the second-set tiebreaker, Bedene then broke Zeballos in the second game of the deciding set en route to the victory.

``It was my first match since August, I think, on clay. So at the beginning I was confused,'' Bedene said. ``I'm really happy with my performance - first round, first win.''

Bedene apologized for beating the hometown favorite at the Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis Club.

``Horacio is my good friend, so I feel sorry for him,'' Bedene said. ``But tennis is tennis and somebody has to win.''

No. 2 seed Nicolas Almagro defeated Argentine Guido Pella 6-3, 6-2, continuing his recent success on clay in Latin America.

In 2012, Almagro won on clay in Brazil and was the runner-up in Buenos Aires. In 2011, the Spaniard won twice in Latin America - in Brazil and Buenos Aires - and was the runner-up in Acapulco, Mexico.

``This trip through Latin America has been very good for me in recent years,'' Almagro said. ``But every year is different.''

In other first-round matches, No. 4 seed Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil was ousted by Argentine Diego Schwartzman 6-4, 4-6, 6-1, eighth-seeded Albert Ramos of Spain advanced with a 6-1, 6-0 win over Flavio Cipolla of Italy and Federico Delbonis of Argentina moved on with a 6-1, 6-4 victory over Portugal's Joao Sousa.

Top-seeded David Ferrer of Spain plays in the first round Tuesday against Agustin Velotti.