Re: Week 46: Champaign, Illinois, USA [Main Draw]
OK guys, just got back from the day session. It is rare to say this, but even in warmups Russell was intimidating Berankis (telling him where he should stand, that he needed to switch sides, etc). Berankis looked absolutely atrocious during warmups, missing several balls into the bottom of the net. It is not often that you can call a match during warmups, but this was one of those.
The match started off with four consecutive breaks in WTA-style fashion. Russell double faulted twice in both of his opening service games, and Berankis double faulted and hit three easy unforced errors to start his serving campaign off. Russell ran off to a 5-2 lead, only for Berankis to start finding his range. Berankis looked awesome to break Russell at 3-5, and ran off to a 40-0 lead at 4-5. Russell then played two excellent points that concluded in winners, and Berankis hit a let cord at deuce that seemed to hang forever before back on Berankis' side.
The 2nd set was absolutely no competition as the score would indicate. Russell kept hitting this low slice which just gave Berankis fits. Michael Russell would be an excellent coach, as he is a tremendous on-court tactician. It was obvious that Berankis loves pace, and Russell mixed up his shots brilliantly to constantly keep Berankis off guard. At 1-4 Berankis missed two easy overheads, and it was obvious that he was simply a beaten man at that point.
Berankis was the worst that he has been all tournament, but you have to tip your hat to Michael Russell as he started very slow himself. All and all, Russell is still unbelievably quick, and is capable of adjusting his game based on his opponent's weaknesses and style of play. Berankis is still young and very talented, but still has a lot to learn in terms of strategy and composure.
I'm going to try to make it to Dent-Kim, but no guarantees tonight. It should be interesting to see how Russell does against the winner tomorrow. Cheers!