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Nieminen retires in Australian opener

Finnish tennis veteran Jarkko Nieminen, fresh off his second ATP tournament win, forfeited to former world number three, David Nalbandian, in the first round of the Australian Open. Nieminen was apparently forced to retire with stomach cramps after losing two rounds.

Jarkko Nieminen
Jarkko Nieminen Image: YLE / Kimmo Gustafsson

On Sunday, the 30-year-old Finn won the Sydney International, defeating France's Julien Benneteau in a rain-delayed final. Nieminen's only previous ATP title came in Auckland, New Zealand, six years ago. He also played in the men's doubles final on Sunday.

Moving to Melbourne for the Australian Open men's singles tournament less than a day later, Nieminen drew a challenging first-round opponent: Argentina's Nalbandian, now 87th on the ATP ranking.

Nieminen, whose highest ranking, 13th, came after his Auckland win, had sunk to 77th by last week. On Monday, his ranking leaped to 49th.

In a match that began at 7pm local time, Nalbandian won the first two rounds 6-4, 4-2, before the Finn retired -- no doubt exhausted in his 13th match in nine days.

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