Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Hypo Group Tennis International 2008 Thursday Review

Juan Monaco
The Hypo Group Tennis International 2008 Thursday

Today, Thursday, it was double-pack-day at the 15th edition of the Hypo Group Tennis International 08, presented by, on the Werzer Arena in Pörtschach, since the players had to complete both their last-16-matches as well as their quarter-finals due to the delay the rain had caused in the beginning of the week.

It was a birthday child that started proceedings on the centre court for Jürgen Melzer, last Austrian still standing in the singles main draw, celebrated his 27th birthday. A celbration which his opponent, 21-year-old Dutch talent Robin Haase, obviously didn’t want to join in. But Melzer started into the first games of set 1 aggressively and focused – which was rewarded by an early break when Haase served a double fault at 30:40.

This made the man from Deutsch-Wagram even more self-confident which was proven by another break for 5:2. And even an immediate re-break by the man from the Hague didn’t ruffle Melzer: he broke again to win the first set by 6:3.

The second set didn’t start to the birthday child’s liking since Haase (ranking No 58) managed an early break for 2:1. But the current No 103 in the world overcame his short low and rebroke the Dutchman for 3:3. But then Melzer lost his serve by love and Haase served the set – despite an intermittent 15:40 – out by 6:4.

In the third set Jürgen Melzer presented himself with the best birthday present. Following a break for 3:1 he confirmed this by an impressive serve game while Haase seemed more and more unnerved. And Melzer even added a bonus: another break brought an overall victory by 6:3,4:6 and 6:2 after 1 hour 40 minutes. “I am very satisfied about the way I played. I already showed this in the first set and played even better in the third one. No matter the outcome of the quarter-final match, this day is already a good one”, said a content Jürgen Melzer.

In the third match on the centre court this afternoon, Jürgen Melzer will take on Igor Kunitsyn (RUS) who defeated Slovenian qualifier Blaz Klavcic in two straight sets by 6:1,6:4.

The second match on the centre court rather surprisingly also went over three sets. There the No 1 of the tournament, Nikolay Davydenko (RUS), faced the No 85 in the world, US-American John Isner. After it looked like a walk-through for the No 4 in the world after set 1 (Davydenko by 6:2) the 2,06 metres cannonball server from Greensboro, North Carolina, came back into the match and won the second set in the tie-breaker by 7:6(6). The third set was then decided by the greater experience of the Russian who broke Isner for 5:3 and finally served out the set for the overall score of 6:2,6:7(6) and 6:3.
After the match Nikolay Davydenko said: “It was incredibly hard to return his service. And Isner also scored a lot of aces. The rallies were very short which made it difficult for me. You have to try to stay constant in your game when playing someone like that. But three sets were a good preparation for Paris in any case.” In the quarter-finals, which is planned for late afternoon, the Russian will now play Italian Andreas Seppi won in two straight set by 7:5 and 6:1 over Dudi Sela (ISR).

Title holder Juan Monaco from Argentina has also reached the quarter-finals. The No 2 of the tournament didn’t have any trouble winning over Czech Jiri Vanek (No 92 in the world) by 6:2 and 6:2 on court 2.

In the quarter-finals he will face US-American Robby Ginepri who definitely had to toil harder to defeat Olivier Rochus from Belgium by 4:6,6:2 and 6:3 after 2 hours 11 minutes.

The suprisingly strong Austrian-Swiss double Philipp Oswald/Jean-Claude Scherrer continued its success-run and defeated US-American pair Scott Lipsky/David Martin by 7:6(3) and 6:3. In the semi-finals they will face No 1 seeded Brazilians Marcelo Melo/Andre Sa.

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AP Photo/Fabian Bimmer