By Alana Mitchelson
(January 13, 2014) MELBOURNE -Vasek Pospisil has cruised past Sam Groth in straight sets, 6-4 6-3 6-4, to secure a second round match with Australia’s Matt Ebden.
The Canadian did not allow the keen Aussie fan team, complete with bright green and gold attire and sombreros, or the supportive songs they chanted distract him from carrying out his mission at Melbourne Park on Monday.
While Groth was not afraid to incorporate many a serve and volley point into his game, his commitment to approaching the net did not always carry his service and inconsistent shot placement led to the Australian only winning about half of the volley points he attempted.
Meanwhile, Pospisil maintained his exceptional sideline hitting and with such accuracy that Groth was at times so confident as to abandon the lob entirely, only to turn around in sheer horror as he watched the ball clip the chalk time after time.
A refreshing cool breeze settled in at around 6pm, but even the cooler conditions did not help Groth as he failed to claim a single break on the Canadian throughout the whole match.
Groth, who currently holds the record for the fastest serve at a rifling 263 km/hr, hit as many as 16 aces throughout the match, but Pospisil executed confident and precise returns on most occasions. He even served out some aces of his own and exhibited some truly elegant net play which made for entertaining tennis for the crowd to experience.
Given Pospisil had recently experienced back problems, which forced him to an unfortunate withdrawal during a semifinal in Chennai earlier this month, the 24-year-old was surprised at how well he had performed on court.
“I wasn’t actually expecting to play like that given I wasn’t feeling 100 per cent and I didn’t really have very good preparation,” Pospisil admitted.
While his second round opponent, Matt Ebden, played a fairly gruelling five setter in peak heat on Monday, Pospisil did not feel as though he had any kind of advantage with having enjoyed a more relaxed first round match.
“We have a day off tomorrow… he’s a really fit guy so I don’t think he’ll be too tired. But it’s better for me that I didn’t have to play five sets, that’s for sure.”
Watching Milos Raonic break into the top 10 has been particularly inspiring for him as a Canadian player and the 24-year-old is always looking to improve his game.
Alana Mitchelson is a Melbourne-based freelance journalist covering the Australian Open for Tennis Panorama News. Follow her tournament updates on Twitter @TennisNewsTPN and read her personal website http://alanamitchelson.wordpress.com