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Apell’s Maneuvers Succeed Yet Again : Tennis: Most talk centers on Swede’s recent lifesaving heroics despite 6-4, 6-2 rout of 27th-ranked Volkov.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Jan Apell took advantage of a struggling Alexander Volkov to score a 6-4, 6-2 victory Wednesday in the second round of the Los Angeles Open at the L.A. Tennis Center.

The fourth-seeded Volkov began the match by double faulting, and things got steadily worse for the Russian, who appeared to give up in the final game.

Apell, ranked 102nd and better known for his doubles prowess, is playing his first season on the ATP pro tour in singles. In a postmatch news conference, however, reporters were more interested in hearing about a choking victim he faced than the progress of his singles career.

Apell was preparing for a doubles match at the Manchester Open in June when he noticed one of the locker-room stewards choking.

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John Monaghan, 69, was gasping for air and waving frantically.

“I looked up and I thought he had problems,” Apell said. “I came to him and he couldn’t say anything. He had something stuck in his throat.”

Apell struck Monaghan on the back to try to dislodge the object. When that didn’t work, Apell ran outside to get help. “We need a doctor in here, it’s urgent,” he shouted.

Apell returned to Monaghan’s side and, although he had no formal training in life-saving techniques, successfully performed the Heimlich maneuver.

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“I didn’t realize that the name was Heimlich, but I did it,” Apell said.

How did Apell, who is from Sweden, know the maneuver?

“Swedish instinct,” he said.

Against a frustrated Volkov Wednesday, the left-handed Apell won four of six break points and concentrated on executing his game plan, which he said was “to mix it up a little bit, to get him confused.”

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The plan worked. With Apell leading, 4-2, in the second set, the 27th-ranked Volkov apparently decided to pack it in. He hit two volleys lamely into the net and one wide to hand Apell his last break point. The crowd made its disappointment known.

Apell won the last eight points, capped by an ace that Volkov didn’t even move to get.

Volkov grabbed his tennis bag and left the stadium, eventually returning to speak to reporters.

“I made too many mistakes on unforced errors,” he said. "(Apell) just tried to mix and keep the ball in play as long as possible from the baseline, and I was not ready to play like that.”

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Apell said he wasn’t surprised when Volkov gave up, but empathized with Volkov.

“I guess he didn’t play his best tennis,” Apell said. “Sometimes when you feel like you are not playing well, sometimes, you don’t know what to do and you just give it away. . . . It has happened to me as well. I have done the same thing.”

For Apell, 24, who also defeated Volkov in the second round of the Lipton Championships at Key Biscayne, Fla., in March, the victory increased his confidence in his singles game. He played only ATP Challenger tournaments in singles last year.

In other second-round matches Wednesday, Mark Petchey of Great Britain lost to 53rd-ranked Mark Woodforde of Australia, 6-4, 7-6 (7-4). Petchey, ranked 89th, had upset top-seeded Michael Chang in the first round on Tuesday.

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In the featured night match, fifth-seeded Richard Krajicek of The Netherlands, the defending champion, defeated Robbie Weiss, 6-2, 6-3. Weiss, ranked 123rd, won an NCAA singles title at Pepperdine in 1988.

Notes

Attendance Wednesday was 11,641. In today’s second-round matches, eighth-seeded Karsten Braasch of Germany will play tournament qualifier Steve Campbell at noon, followed at about 2 p.m. by 60th-ranked Chuck Adams against second-seeded Boris Becker. Sixth-seeded Jason Stoltenberg of Australia will play 87th-ranked Steve Bryan, beginning at about 4 p.m. Third-seeded Andre Agassi will play 61st-ranked Greg Rusedski of Canada at 7:30 p.m.


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