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TENNIS: Big first-round test for Radovanovich

Aspiring Kiwi professional tennis player Lee Radovanovich (17) will take on South African fourth seed Neville Godwin in the first round of the US$25,000 Gallagher International Challenger in Hamilton today.

A wildcard entrant into the main singles draw, Radovanovich will have his work cut out, as Godwin has been in the South African Davis Cup team and has been ranked inside the top 100 players in the world several times.

Although known more for his doubles prowess, Godwin has shown form this year in challengers and has been a quarterfinalist at the two challengers he has entered this year, Hull and Singapore, also winning the doubles at each event.

Last year, he entered seven challenger tournaments, making the singles final of three, including a US$100,000 challenger in Istanbul and losing in the first round of the other four tournaments. The Radovanovich-Godwin match is the fourth on centre court.

Other key first-round match-ups include eighth seed Paul Kilderry, who won the singles title at Perth late last year and has two ATP Tour doubles events. Kilderry faces a tough contest against American Michael Joyce.

Dejan Petrovic, the second seed of Australia, will play countryman Luke Smith, a winner of the NCAA champs in the United States in 1997. Petrovic entered the tournament with a ranking of 187. The match is the third scheduled on centre court.

There have been two late withdrawals from the main draw entry list due to injury. Promising American player Taylor Dent has pulled out, as has Korean Davis Cup player Hyung-Taik Lee, who would have been the third seed.

The absence of Lee moves Kiwi number one Mark Nielsen up the seedings to number six and will face a yet-to-be-decided qualifier in the first round. Kiwi wildcard entrant Teo Susnjak will also face a qualifier in his first-round match on Tuesday.

McNEIL ONLY KIWI WITH CHANCE OF QUALIFYING

Auckland 18-year-old Adam McNeil is the only Kiwi left in the final round of singles qualifying at the US$25,000 Gallagher International Challenger in Hamilton.

McNeil defeated South African Coenie Van Wyk in straight sets 6-4 6-3 with a competent display at the baseline and the net but saw the three remaining New Zealanders in the second round fall to more experienced opponents.

McNeil will now face the second seed in the qualifying, Nicklas Timfjord of Sweden, with an ATP tour entry ranking of 528. McNeil is unranked and is keen to start his professional career. Timfjord disposed of Wellington's Matt Dewar 6-2 6-4 in his second round qualifying match.

Aucklander Derek Burden could only manage one game in his match against Australian Jaymon Crabb, as the top seed in the qualifier proved too strong for Burden. Adam Thompson from the Belvedere club in west Auckland was beaten by Australia's Paul Baccanello 6-3 6-2.

Gallagher International Qualifying Singles Results

First round
Derek Burden(NZL) bt Grant Silcock(AUS) 7/5 6/0
Iain Bates(GBR) bt Andrew Turner(NZL) 6/2 6/1
Matt Dewar(NZL) bt Philip Hempstead(NZL) 6/2 6/0
Adam McNeil(NZL) bt Haydn Wakefield(RSA) 6/1 7/5
Robert Green(GBR) bt Jim May(GBR) 2/6 6/1 6/4
Billy McManus(GBR) bt Steven Downs(NZL) 6/2 7/5
Adam Thompson(NZL) bt Adam McNeil(NZL) 6/3 6/2

Singles qualifying completed second round
1-Jaymon Crabb(AUS) bt Burden 6/1 6/0
Bates bt 7-Barry Fulcher(GBR) 7/5 6/3
2-Nicklas Timfjord(SWE) bt Dewar 6/2 6/4
McNeil bt 8-Connie Van Wyk(RSA) 6/4 6/3
3-M Hellstrom(SWE) bt Ashley Fickel(USA) walkover
6-Graeme Darlington(GBR) bt Green 6/3 6/1
4-Ric De Voest(RSA) bt McManus 6/4 6/0
5-Paul Baccannello(AUS) bt Thompson 6/3 6/2

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