Wawrinka survives Goffin scare

By Anand Philar, IANS
Thursday, January 6, 2011

CHENNAI - Qualifier David Goffin showcased raw talent and the freshness of youth to stretch third seed Stanislas Wawrinka who eventually survived two tie-breaks to book his berth in the quarterfinals of the singles competition in the Aircel ATP Chennai Open tennis tournament here Friday.

The one hour, 56-minute match ended well past midnight as Wawrinka, ranked 21, was pushed to the limits before winning 7-6 (3), 7-6 (3) against the 20-year old Goffin from Belgium.

Up next for the 25-year old Swiss is the eighth seeded Dutchman Robin Haase who overcame Japan’s Yuichi Sugita, another qualifier, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.

In the other quarter-finals, Japan’s highest ranked player on the pro tour, 21-year old Kei Nishikori takes on sixth seed Janko Tipsarevic, the Serbian Davis Cupper, while German Bjorn Phau meets Xavier Malisse, the No.7 seed from Belgium and top seed Tomas Berdych faces Blaz Kavcic.

Meanwhile, in the doubles draw, the second seeded India-Pakistan pair of Rohan Bopanna and Aisam Ul-Haq Quereshi, seeded second, lost to the Dutch-US combo of Robin Haase and David Martin 4-6, 5-7, in a rather disappointing quarter-final match.

A lot more was expected of Bopanna and Qureshi, but on the day, the two were rather flat while Haase and Martin kept things tight to emerge deserving winners.

Goffin, the 288th ranked Goffin from Belgium, despite the defeat, gave a brilliant exhibition of power hitting that also underlined his talent against the vastly more experienced Swiss Wawrinka who did well to come back from a break down in both sets to script a hard-earned victory.

There were spells in the match when Goffin was in control and pulled Wawrinka from side to side, but his inexperience cost him dear at crucial moments, especially in the tie-breaks when he committed double-faults and also blew a set point in the second with a rather careless return.

Wawrinka eventually banked on his experience and superior stroke production against a rookie who did not hold back while peppering the corners and the lines with his exuberant shots one can expect from a challenger.

Earlier, the 98th ranked Nishikori staged a memorable recovery to get past Colombian Alejandro Falla 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 to underline his abundant talent.

Falla squandered a 3-0 lead in the second set after winning the first as Nishikori authored a stunning recovery by taking the next nine games for a 3-0 advantage in the decider to effectively seal the issue.

“I am always a slow starter, but I need to change that if I hope to make progress,” said Nishikori who last month hired noted coach Brad Gilbert, a long time associate of Andre Agassi.

Falla lost control over his emotions following a wrong call from chair umpire El Jennati that he spotted rather late and even smashed his racquet in frustration.

“The dispute was a distraction and I lost concentration. It was tough for me, but I got lucky and managed to win,” said Nishikori who last year made 800 spots from 898 to 98 in just eight months and beat second seed and defending champion Marin Cilic in the first round.

The results (second round):

Singles: 7-Xavier Malisse (BEL) bt Stephane Robert (FRA) 6-2, 6-2; 6-Janko Tipsarevic (SRB) bt Q-Alexandre Kudryavtsev (RUS) 6-2, 7-6 (3); 8-Robin Haase (NED) bt Yuichi Sugita (JPN) 4-6, 6-3, 6-4; Kei Nishikori (JPN) bt Alejandro Falla (COL) 4-6, 6-3, 6-2; 3-Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI) bt Q-David Goffin (BEL) 7-6 (3), 7-6 (3).

Doubles (quarter-finals): Marin Cilic / Ivan Dodig (CRO) bt Sanchai Ratiwatana / Sonchat Ratiwatana (THA) 6-2, 6-4; Simone Bolelli (ITA) / Janko Tipsarevic (SRB) bt Scott Lipsky / Rajeev Ram (US) 6-4, 6-2; Robin Haase (NED) / David Martin (US) bt Rohan Bopanna (IND) / Aisam Ul-Haq Qureshi (PAK) 6-4, 7-5.

Filed under: Tennis

will not be displayed