Blog from Tennis Canada about yesterday:
There were 15 Frenchmen among the 128 qualifying hopefuls. That’s quite a few more than the Canadians – but four is still a historically good number for the boys from Maple Leaf land.
And there was good news. Milos Raonic of Thornhill, Ont., won by a comfortable 6-2, ret. score when his Belgian opponent David Goffin had to retire with a side injury.
Peter Polansky, also of Thornhill, had a similarly easy time, rolling 6-2, 6-0 over Juan Sebastian Cabal of Colombia.
Philip Bester of North Vancouver was the lone loser on the day, falling 6-4, 6-4 to Nicolas Massu of Chile, the 2004 Athens Olympic gold medalist in singles who now ranks a modest No. 188. The crucial breaks of serve came at 4-4 in both sets – and plain and simple Bester made too many unforced errors in those two games, and in general. Massu, now 31, is not the player he once was.
Later on a muggy Wednesday evening, with all kinds of moths and bugs swarming under the lights and straying down onto the court, Frank Dancevic of Niagara Falls, Ont., put on a fine display of big-hitting to oust Adrian Ungur of Romania 6-2, 6-3.
Dancevic struck the ball aggressively and served well, blasting four aces in the game that gave him a 3-1 lead in the opening set.
He faces a tough second round on Friday against the brute but sometimes erratic power of Evgeny Korolev of Kazakhstan. They have met twice before, both in the Sydney qualifying. The ex-Russian won in 2007 while Dancevic prevailed in 2009. Dancevic looks very fit, has been practising well and says he’s in for a big year.
Raonic and Polansky will play their second matches on Thursday, the same day Stéphanie Dubois of Laval, Que., and Heidi El Tabakh of Oakville, Ont., make their women’s qualifying debuts.
Raonic’s quick win allowed him the luxury of sitting front row courtside with his coach Galo Blanco of Spain to watch the match featuring his second-round opponent. In a relaxed mood, Raonic joked that it wasn’t such a big deal that he be there because, “that’s what coaches are for.” He knew Ryler DeHeart’s game quite well, but the American lost to Nikola Mektic of Croatia, a crisp striker of the ball with a bit of a temper. “I don’t know the other guy (Mektic),” Raonic admitted a little more seriously, “so I’m getting some good match preparation.”
Polansky is hoping to repeat 2009, when he qualified, and has already gone one better than last year when he lost in the first round. “I returned and served well,” he said, “and kept the ball in play. I found he (Cabal) was making a mistakes after a few balls.”
The world No. 208 practised in Rod Laver Arena this week with Andy Roddick. “I got my ass whipped, 6-1,” Polansky said. “We had a few close games on my serve, but I was really surprised how heavy his second serve was. And he’s really big.”
Roddick was generous enough to offer him some bits of advice.
Next up for Polansky is No. 121-ranked Jesse Huta Galung of the Netherlands.