While most eyes were on the unveiling of the main draw at the Farmers Classic in Los Angeles this week, a number of surprising events happened in the first round of qualifying. Among the notable victims was the #1 seed in the qualifying draw, American Ryan Sweeting. Somewhat reminiscent of Gasquet in appearance if not in playing style, Sweeting retired a game away from defeat against an unheralded Frenchman. Equally unfortunate was WTA #1 Victoria Azarenka's boyfriend, Sergei Bubka, who found his #4 seed no protection against Uruguayan Marcel Felder.
Not all seeds suffered such disappointing fates, however. A former prodigy whom some discussed in the same sentence with players like Dimitrov, Harrison, and Raonic, Ricardas Berankis has fallen into an arid spell recently in part because of injury. But the top-ranked man from Lithuania earned a challenging three-set victory on Saturday over a home favorite, the type of match that will enhance his confidence moving forward. The third seed Marco Chiudinelli, who has spent a career overshadowed by compatriots Federer and Wawrinka, advanced more smoothly, as did eighth seed Rik de Voest. After losing the first set, De Voest lost just one game in the next two sets combined, producing the day's strangest scoreline.
Qualifying continues tomorrow at the Los Angeles Tennis Center of UCLA, and the main draw will start on Sunday.