Windy Wednesday as Winners Book Quarterfinals at Tennis Hall of Fame Championships
Steve Fogleman, Tennis Atlantic
NEWPORT (July 13, 2016) If I don’t like Mondays at a tournament, then I love Wednesdays. Today’s Tennis Hall of Fame Championships featured six second round matches and a single first round match under cloudless skies and very breezy conditions.
Victor Estrella Burgos became the last man in the second round with a routine 7-6(3), 6-3 win over American Dennis Novikov. Meanwhile, on Stadium Court, Frank Dancevic played his fourth match in four days and came out swinging against the big-serving Ivo Karlovic. Ivo had just two aces in the first set, but settled down to win a tiebreak in the second, netting ten aces in that frame. He added another eight in the final stanza, and Dancevic gave up his only break in the match at 4-4 to set up Karlovic to serve it out. He did, and advances as the favorite to beat Marco Chiudinelli in the quarterfinals.
Asked about his slow start, Karlovic told Tennis Atlantic, “It was windy and it was early. I didn’t really wake up soon. 11:00, I normally have breakfast, and today I already had a match, so I didn’t really wake up”. On winning a title in Newport after two appearances as a finalist, he said, “Yeah, I’m ready. If not, then when? So, I’m ready. This year I got a bye, so hopefully this year four matches will be enough”.
Meanwhile, Newport regular John Patrick Smith took on Marco Chiudenelli on Court 1. No one seems to know these courts like Smith does and he over-performs here. But today, after posting an impressive 6-1 first set, it was Chiudenelli’s time to pull a rabbit out of a hat, and he did, winning 1-6, 6-3, 6-3. Following the Chiudinelli win on Court 1, a battle I had anticipated between Stefan Kozlov and Donald young never materialized. Young busted out of the gate en route to a 6-0, 6-4 victory and he will play top seed Steve Johnson in the quarters. The quiet-in-press Young was as close to elated as I’ve ever seen him as he declared, “I don’t know if I’ve won two in a row this year, so this might be the first time or the second, so this is a confidence builder at a tournament I’ve struggled at in the past.”
Johnson’s victory was also unexpectedly lopsided, as he posted a 20-minute breadstick on Sugita and cruised into the quarters, 6-1, 6-4.
Brian Baker had a wonderful ride in Newport, winning his first match since 2013 in Cinncinati. Marcos Baghdatis stood in his way of the quarterfinals, and both played very well from the start of the match. Baghdatis simply played better, winning 91% of his first service points to 81% for Baker in the first set. Baghdatis advanced, 6-4, 6-3, and will meet either Dudi Sela or defending champ Rajeev Ram tomorrow.