Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Melzer beats Raonic to win 2012 Memphis title

Melzer beats Raonic to win 2012 Memphis title

Jurgen Melzer won the 2012 Regions Morgan Keegan Championships title after defeating Milos Raonic of Canada 7-5, 7-6.

Melzer broke Raonic to go up 6-5 in the first set and then served out to win the first set, finishing with a 108 mph ace.

Raonic needed four break points before breaking Melzer go up 3-1 in the second set. The Canadian held serve for a 4-1 lead before Melzer broke back when Raonic double-faulted to give the Austrian the advantage and then hit a forehand into the net.

Still, Raonic had set point at 30-40 leading 5-4 when Melzer double-faulted but he was not able to take it.

In the tiebreaker, Raonic went up 3-2 but Melzer got a mini-break on the Canadian when Raonic hit a forehand into the net to go up 5-3 in the tiebreaker. Up 5-4 and serving, Melzer watched Raonic hit a forehand wide before putting a backhand into the net on the final point.

Melzer broke his right big toe when he caught his foot in a hotel bedspread in the dark, and a doctor found the break on an X-ray on Feb. 17. Melzer returned to the court for practice two days later and survived three-set tiebreakers in his first two rounds to advance in Memphis.

Melzer showed no signs of any discomfort as he ousted John Isner in the quarterfinals and Radek Stepanek in the semifinals before downing Raonic.

“If anybody would’ve said last Friday, especially in the morning after seeing the doctor, that I’ll be holding the trophy next Sunday, I would’ve called him a fool,” Melzer said. “But sometimes, you know, life plays games like that. Maybe it took a little bit of the pressure off in the beginning.”

“If I play like this to win a tournament, I’ll break a toe any day,” Melzer said.

“After a tough season last year, it’s obviously something nice,” Melzer said.

“He’s not as dangerous off his backhand. I think it’s his safer stroke, but more dangerous he is with his forehand,” Melzer said about his opponent. “So when the ball was in play, I just tried to move him and play to his backhand and if I had the chance to, go for the winner. And if not, just kept him playing around because I felt I was safer from the backcourt.”

Raonic lost a three-set tiebreak a year ago to Andy Roddick on an incredible diving shot.

“I’ll learn much more from this than I would if the outcome was the other way,” Raonic said. “It doesn’t matter what the outcome is, I just need to take the most I can from it. I’m young. There’s a lot of space for improvement in my game, and that’s sort of what I have to look at in the next steps to get better.”

“It’s like somebody dangling a piece of cake in front of you and taking it away in the last second,” Raonic said. “I’ll definitely be back.”