By Dominique Cambron-Goulet
(August 5, 2013) MONTREAL – Sometimes, great things happen if you leave your comfort zone. Well, if you decided to stay in the comfy media room of Stade Uniprix’s central court on day one of the Montreal ATP Masters 1000, you made the worst choice. While the supposedly the best matchups of the day were kind of boring on central court, (aside from the match between Peter Polansky and Kei Nishikori) the action taking place on Banque Nationale court was pure magic.
Two matches in the afternoon, two third set tiebreakers. That was your reward for sitting in the stands of Montreal’s second biggest court. First, Italian Andreas Seppi came back from a break deficit in the third set to beat Czech Lukas Rosol 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (4). Then, Slovak Martin Klizan won a breathtaking third set after losing the first 5-7 to Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci. After a well-fought tiebreak, the final result was 5-7, 6-4, 7-6 (6).
At night, the atmosphere in the stands was the show. After Frenchman Benoit Paire defeated German Philipp Kohlschreiber 7-6(1), 7-5 in a fast-paced game, wildcard Jesse Levine was carried by the Canadian crowd and managed to beat Belgian Xavier Malisse in straight sets 6-4, 7-6 (4).
Seppi vs Rosol
After winning a set 6-4 each, Rosol and Seppi offered quite a show in the final set. With most of the games going to deuce and four breaks in total, spectators had the chance to see some great rallies. Serving with a 4-3 lead, Rosol was unable to win a single point on the deuce side. After saving three break points in a row, he lost the game to Seppi who never looked back.
Although the Czech saved a match point at 6-5, he was unable to get the upper hand in the tiebreak and letting the Italian take a 6-2 lead. Seppi would finally win 7-4 to take the match 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(4).
Klizan vs Bellucci
Another crazy third set was awaiting the spectators on Banque Nationale court right after the Seppi/Rosol matchup.
After two well-fought sets, both players were head-to-head in the last stroll. Serving at 4-5, Klizan started 0-30 to come back with two great rallies, the second one ending with a skid on a dropshot from Bellucci.
That left-handed duel was breathtaking until the end. The Italian made an unforgivable unforced error on deuce while serving at 5-5, but managed to save the break point.
Going into the tiebreak, tension was greater than ever. Even the line judges started to feel pressure as three decisions were overturned by challenge in the final game. Serving on a match point at 6-5, Klizan double-faulted and gave Bellucci a chance to come back which he wasn’t able to grab. Klizan won the next two points to take the game 5-7, 6-4, 7-6 (6).
Kohlschreiber vs Paire
The top-30 matchup was surprisingly the least exciting match of the day on BN court. Benoît Paire was carried by the French-speaking crowd, and won the match in two sets against German Phillip Kohlschreiber 7-6 (1), 7-5.
Even though Paire flirted a lot with anger, throwing his racquet and getting a “ball abuse” warning in the second set, he managed to control his emotion at the end. It was rather Kohlschreiber that lost his concentration when serving at 5-5. He double-faulted to allow Paire to deuce the game and framed a forehand on the break point to give Paire the opportunity to serve for the game. The Frenchman wasnot going to let this chance go away and blanked the last game to win the set and the match.
Levine vs Malisse
Jesse Levine took advantage of a diminished Xavier Malisse 6-4, 7-6(4) to access second round of the Montreal Masters.
Early in the game it seemed like it was going to be a rough night for Malisse. After breaking his strings on his first return game, he had to call for treatment for his foot after giving Levine the break in the third game of the match. Malisse came back okay from his treatment but gave Levin easy points with a lot of unforced errors in the first set. Levine held his break until the end to win 6-4.
Although he opened up with a break, the second set was harder for the adopted Canadian. After trailing 0-2, the Belgian was able to hit a lot of winner shots and evened things out 2-2. But Levine came out really strong in the eleventh game to lead 6-5. Serving for the match, it looked like Levine was going to wrap it up. Almost at his goal he made a couple of unforced errors to give Malisse the chance to play the tiebreak.
Unfortunately, the Belgian seemed to get injured on the first point of the tiebreak. He tried to close the points really fast but forced the play a little too much. Levine then took a 5-2 lead with three points in a row. After wasting the first of his triple match points, the Canadian won the match on one of Malisse’s many unforced errors.
Dominique Cambron-Goulet has been teaching tennis for ten years and is now a journalist in Montreal. Follow his reports all week from Rogers Cup here and live on twitter @TennisNewsTPN.