Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Hypo Group Tennis International 2008 Wednesday Review

Juan Monaco
The Hypo Group Tennis International 2008 Wednesday Review

On the fifth day. Wednesday, the Hypo Group Tennis International on the Werzer Arena in Pörtschach commenced punctually at 11.00, as scheduled, despite cloudy weather conditions.

The initial position for the first match on the centre court was obvious. On the one hand the favourite, No 2 of the tournament and title holder, Juan Monaco (ARG), on the other hand the No 83 in the world, his countryman Carlos Berlocq – who had only just lost to him this year at the Australian Open in three straight sets. But the match was finished even faster than one could have assumed. After Monaco had broken him twice and lead 4:1, Berlocq had to give up due to a thigh injury. Thus the titleholder reached the second round – almost – without resistance.

The following match on the centre court saw Croat Mario Ancic (ranking No 46), who had only returned to the tour in February following a stomach illness, challenge Robby Ginepri (No 97) from the USA. Favourite Ancic, No 7 in Pörtschach, broke Ginepri in the first set for 3:2 and subsequently served the set out for 6:4. The second set was mirror-inverted – this time around it was the man from Fort Lauderdale who broke the Croat, winning by 6:3. The third set then saw break and re-break before the tie-breaker had to decide. There Robby Ginepri proved to be the luckier one and won after fending off two match points by 10:8. Final result: 4:6, 6:3 and 7:6(8) for the US-American.

At the same time the match on court 1 between Sergio Roitman (ARG) and 21-year-old Dutch talent Robin Haase was of special interest from an Austrian perspective since the winner would meet Jürgen Melzer in the second round. The first set brought on the expected tough fight between the No 58 (Haase) and the No 86 (Roitman) which in the end saw Haase up front in the tie-breaker by 7:6(7). In set two one break was sufficient for the Dutchman to win by 6:4. Thus Robin Haase reached the second round by 7:6(7) and 6:4 where he will face the only Austrian still in the tournament, Jürgen Melzer.

Another match on court 1 between the No 9 of the tournament, Mardy Fish (USA) and Russian Igor Kunitsyn, currently ranking No 96, went by rather swift, on the other hand. But the outcome was contrary to what the ranking would have one expect. Kunitsyn literally sweeped the US-American off the court at his Pörtschach debut. Final result: 6:1, 6:1.

The match on court 2 between Blaz Kavcic (SLO) who had fought his way through the qualification into the main draw, thereby defeating Nico Reissig from Salzburg, and Teimuraz Gabashvilil from Russia, No 125 in the ranking. While Gabashvili, 232 places ahead in the ranking, won the first set by 6:4, the Slovenian fought his way back into the match and equaled the score by 6:4. The third set then once again saw a fierce fight that went into the tie-breaker which the outsider, Blaz Kavcic, won rather surprisingly and therefore also the match by 4:6, 6:4 and 7:6(3).

The match on court TB saw a tough fight in the first set between Mischa Zverev from Germany and Israeli Dudi Sela, which the man from Kiryat Shmonna finally won in the tie-breaker by 7:6(2). In the second set the German then virtually went under and didn’t stand a chance. Thus Dudi Sela reached the second round by 7:6(2) and 6:0.

Tomorrow, Thursday, will be a day of superlatives at the Hypo Group Tennis International 08, presented by, in Pörtschach. From 11.00 – also live on ORF 1 and Sport plus – Austria’s hope Jürgen Melzer will challenge Dutchman Robin Haase for the entry into round three. This will be followed by the match of the No 1 of the tournament, Nikolay Davydenko, against John Isner (USA). And after another quarter-finals match the participants of which have yet to be decided, one can see the second part of the double feature: should both Melzer and Davydenko have won their matches they will appear once more on the centre court – in their quarter-final matches.

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AP Photo/Fabian Bimmer