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Healthy Canas seeking more net gains

Following Guillermo Canas’ tennis career is like watching someone play the stock market.

The highs can be blue-chip exhilarating, such as when he beat top-ranked Roger Federer in consecutive weeks last year.

The lows can be as depressing as a junk bond, such as the numerous hand and wrist injuries he has suffered during his 11-year professional career. Or the 15-month suspension he served after testing positive for a diuretic on the International Tennis Federation’s banned substance list.

Canas is on the comeback trail yet again as the 30-year-old Argentine battles back from a tendon injury in his right wrist that sidelined him for nearly four months.

Canas took another step forward Wednesday as he won his second-round match at the Tennis Channel Open, 6-2, 7-5 over Australia’s Chris Guccione.

"I feel great," Canas said. "My wrist is perfect. My conditioning is good. I just need to get some more matches and build my confidence."

Canas, the No. 4 seed, was on track to meet defending champion Lleyton Hewitt in Saturday’s semifinals, but Hewitt was upset Wednesday night by Julien Benneteau.

Canas will meet Amer Delic in the quarterfinals Friday, and Benneteau will face Sam Querrey.

Canas’ season is just beginning. He’s still rounding into form and trying to get his timing down. He had played just two matches before his first appearance at the Darling Tennis Center, a week ago on the clay at Acapulco, Mexico.

"It was frustrating," Canas said. "I was in a cast for two months, and my doctors didn’t want me to rush back. I’m starting later than usual. Hopefully, I can stay healthy and get back to where I was a year ago."

He appeared to be in mid-season form at the start of his match with Guccione, winning the first 10 points and breaking the left-hander in the process. His forehand return game was strong, and he used his lob effectively in windy conditions to frustrate Guccione.

Nearly a year ago Canas got the best of Federer at Indian Wells, Calif., beating him in the second round in straight sets. The following week in Miami, Canas defeated Federer again, this time in three sets to advance to the quarterfinals.

His success continued as he made it to the finals of the clay-court tournament in Barcelona, Spain, losing to Rafael Nadal.

A few weeks later at the French Open, Canas got to the quarterfinals, where he lost to Nikolay Davydenko.

Canas finished 2007 ranked No. 15 in the world and is 20th in this week’s ATP computer rankings.

Comebacks are nothing new to Canas.

After an injury-plagued 2003, he found himself at No. 273. He overcame hand surgery and rebounded to finish 2004 at No. 11, his highest-ever tour ranking.

Then came the positive test for hydrochlorothiazide and his ban from June 2005 to September 2006. Now he’s trying to finish his career on an up note.

"I went to the doctors for some cold medicine, and they gave me the wrong medicine," Canas said of his positive test. "I tried to fight it, but it’s my responsibility to know what I’m taking.

"The doctor made a mistake, and I paid a big price. Fifteen months is a long time."

• NOTES — The Hilton Cup women’s tournament lost its No. 1 seed as Aravane Rezai was upended in the first round by Coco Vandeweghe, 4-6, 6-1, 6-4. Catrina and Christian Thompson of Las Vegas lost their opening-round doubles match 6-0, 6-3 to Chin-Wei Chan and Tetiana Luzhanska. … Tonight’s promotion is "Fabulous Las Vegas Night." Mayor Oscar Goodman will be on hand, and the first 500 fans will receive a free blanket or Goodman bobblehead.

Contact reporter Steve Carp at scarp@reviewjournal.com or (702) 387-2913.

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