Re: Mikhail Youzhny: Articles & Interviews
Youzhny defeats four seeded players en route to title
The fans in Ahoy Rotterdam once again missed out on a round of drinks from Ivan Ljubicic this afternoon. The Croatian, who promised to treat everyone present to a drink if he won the title, lost the match, as he did when he made the same promise two years ago before playing a tense three-set match against Roger Federer. This time he lost to Mikhail Youzhny in a match that lasted a mere 63 minutes. Ljubicic’s party ended before it had a real chance to get started: 6-2, 6-4.
After a week of matches, Youzhny’s name already adorned seven blocks on the boards around centre court that are traditionally used to display the names of the victors of ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament matches. It was almost as if this victory had to be for the man who had already booked so many triumphs in the 34th edition of the tournament. Youzhny’s name is by no means an anachronism in the tournament’s gallery of champions. The 24-year old Russian’s style is excellent and his game is almost as good as Roger Federer’s, reason enough for the Swiss player, number one in the world, to call his comrade from Moscow one of the most talented players he knew.
Youzhny earned the title with victories over four seeded players: Tomas Berdych (4), David Ferrer (6), Novak Djokovic (5) and Ljubicic (3). He only met one player who, like him, was not on the tournament’s placement list: Robin Haase. Youzhny triumphed over the Dutchman in their second-round match with exactly the same figures as he achieved against his opponent in the finale today, but took 33 more minutes to achieve his second-round victory.
Youzhny, number 22 in the world rankings, survived three match points against Djokovic, but that does not make him unique in the annals of the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament. Jan Siemerink triumphed in 1998 after surviving a match point in his first-round match against the Croation Goran Ivanisevic.