Eric Logan, Tennis East Coast
The second day of main draw play at the Winston-Salem open brought the first round to conclusion and saw fifth seed Guillermo Garcia-Lopez open the second round in the night session. The day’s play was on the whole a level higher than Sunday’s, with a number of exceptional clashes and notable names.
The day session was opened with defending champion Jurgen Melzer falling to qualifier David Goffin 6-3 6-4. Melzer, who would later lose in the first round of doubles as well, will see his ranking fall outside the top 100 after an injury-plagued last twelve months. Goffin, meanwhile, continues an incredible run of form that saw him win his first title in Kitzbuhel.
On court two, Jerzy Janowicz put up an impressive performance against Carlos Berlocq. Although the two are close in the rankings currently, Berlocq was a serious underdog on the quick hard courts of Winston-Salem and looked lost in the first set before steadying himself slightly in the second. Janowicz, however, simply had too much power for Berlocq to absorb in the end, and won 6-1 6-4.
On court three, Federico Delbonis pulled off an upset victory over a superior hard-courter in Martin Klizan, 7-6(5) 6-4. Klizan produced nearly all of the match’s best shots and received almost universal crowd support, but was too erratic and dealt with Delbonis’s impressive serving too poorly to prevail. On the distant court four, Igor Sijsling defeated Andrey Golubev in a tight two-setter. Golubev failed to take advantage of poor volleying by Sijsling and allowed himself to be outrallied by the Dutchman, surrendering his serve from 40-0 for the decisive break in a 7-6(5) 6-3 match.
In what was surprisingly possibly the day’s best match, Frank Dancevic faced off against Thomaz Bellucci. Both players’ smooth and powerful serves and groundstrokes drew a larger crowd than one would expect on the third court, and Dancevic produced a number of stunning backhands equaled by a stream of Bellucci winners off the forehand wing. An extended rally saw Dancevic take a very tight first set, but Bellucci rebounded to take the second set with ease. In the end, it was the Canadian who prevailed in a three-set match interrupted by rain with Bellucci down break point in the third set, 7-5 3-6 6-2.
Around the grounds, there was plenty of action to be had between spurts of rain which included what was nearly a two-hour delay. Adrian Mannarino easily put away an erratic Damir Dzumhur 6-2 6-2. Aleksandr Nedovyesov crushed American hopes with a close 6-4 6-4 win over Marcos Giron in which the American was a dismal 1/7 on break chances. Blaz Rola prevailed in two tight sets over fellow leftie Wayne Odesnik, 7-6(3) 6-3. In one of the day’s two second round matches, Jarkko Nieminen came from a break down in the second to defeat Benjamin Becker 7-5 6-4.
On Center Court, the night session was led into with a pair of low quality matches, Paul-Henri Mathieu’s messy 6-3 7-5 win over wild card Robby Ginepri and Sam Querrey’s 7-6(5) 6-4 win over Pere Riba, who is unimposing on a hard court. However, the first set of Dustin Brown taking on fifth seed Guillermo Garcia-Lopez was probably the highest quality and most dramatic of the event thusfar. Brown’s big serve and beautiful volleys were pitted against Garcia-Lopez’s capable return and piercing groundstrokes off both wings. Brown saved two set points with two aces at 4-5, and took the tiebreak 7-5 after a Garcia-Lopez double fault. Brown’s resistance would fade, however, in the next two sets, with a lackluster final scoreline of 6-7(5) 6-2 6-2.
The doubles draw got underway today with some upset results. The second seeded team of Rohan Bopanna and defending champion Daniel Nestor lost in a pair of tiebreaks to the Columbians Cabal and Farah. Melzer was handed his second loss of the day as he and partner Lukas Rosol lost to Marcel Granollers and his unaccomplished partner, singles specialist Pablo Andujar 7-6(3) 2-6 10-4, with Melzer making a number of errors on critical points. The wild card team of Nicholas Monroe and Donald Young upset the Argentines Delbonis and Leonardo Mayer 7-6(4) 7-5. Robin Haase and Nicolas Mahut defeated Scott Lipsky and Max Mirnyi 7-5 6-4 in a match that may have been decided when Mirnyi missed a sitting duck volley at 5-5 40-40 in the first.
Tomorrow will be the day that fourteen of the event’s 16 seeds begin their campaigns. This includes two-time champion and hometown John Isner, whose practices are better attended than some of the main draw matches, and last week’s Cincy quarterfinalist Tommy Robredo, as well as the top seeded doubles pairing of Leander Paes (the other half of last year’s winning doubles team) and David Marrero. The forecast calls for more rain, but hopefully that will not prevent all the day’s tennis from being played.