Friday, February 10, 2012

Melzer gives Austria 1-0 lead over Russia

Melzer gives Austria 1-0 lead over Russia

Jurgen Melzer defeated Igor Kunitsyn 6-2, 6-7 (3), 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 to give Austria a 1-0 lead against Russia in the first round of the Davis Cup.

Melzer closed out the victory with his 23rd ace after just over four hours of play. He had more than 80 winners as he overpowered Kunitsyn.

“This is an important win for the team,” said Melzer, who is now 17-21 in Davis Cup singles. “If we want to win the tie, I had to win the first match against their No. 2.”

Russia captain Shamil Tarpischev had unexpectedly picked Kunitsyn instead of Mikhail Youzhny.

“I played well,” Kunitsyn said though a translator. “But Jurgen had the advantage of having the crowd behind him.”

Melzer gained early control after breaking Kunitsyn’s serve in a tight fourth game which lasted for over 16 minutes.

The Austrian went on to comfortably win the opening set and looked poised for 2-0 before missing three set points at 6-5, allowing Kunitsyn to level.

“After the second set, I knew it was going to be an exhausting battle,” said Melzer, who ruled out playing in Saturday’s doubles. “This match has cost me a lot of energy. And we have a great doubles team.”

The match was more in the balance afterward when Melzer and Kunitsyn shared the next two sets. Melzer had an early break in the decider and added another to quickly wrap up the win.

“Jurgen is a very aggressive player so I tried to drag him into long rallies,” Kunitsyn said. “I didn’t manage to do that anymore in the fifth set where I lost the second game from 40-15 up. That was obviously not my plan.”