01-15-2013, 12:11 AM
Join Date: Jan 2012
Smyczek, a ‘Lucky Loser,’ Records a Big Victory
MELBOURNE, Australia — Roommates often share all sorts of things with one another, from bathrooms to cable bills to peanut butter.
On less frequent occasions, they can even share berths in major tennis tournaments.
Tim Smyczek, ranked 125th, appeared on his way out of the Australian Open in Melbourne after a 6-4, 6-2 loss to Cedrik-Marcel Stebe in his final qualifying round match. Smyczek had also lost in the final round of the wild card playoff held by the U.S.T.A. in December, which would have also given him a spot in the main draw.
But the 125th-ranked Milwaukee native’s name was pulled first out of a drawing of those who had fallen at the final qualifying hurdle, and he was entered into the main draw as a so-called “lucky loser.”
The spot Smyczek entered had been vacated by his Florida housemate John Isner, the top-ranked American who pulled out of the tournament with an injury shortly after qualifying had begun.
“He sent me a text that said I owe him a dinner,” Smyczek said after his first-round match, which he won in straight sets, 6-4, 7-6(5), 7-5 over big-serving Croatian Ivo Karlovic.
Smyczek, 25, who at a listed height of 5 foot 9 is over a full foot shorter than the 6 foot 10 Karlovic, said he benefited from having practiced often with Isner, who is 6 foot 9.
“I think that does help,” Smyczek said of having a similarly tall practice partner. “Because with Ivo it wasn’t so much the speed of the serves, really, just the angle it was coming from. He can put it real short in the box, and a lot of times I covered one serve and it didn’t matter, he just hit to good. And yeah, practicing with John a lot did prepare me for that, for sure.”
Smyczek next gets to try to pick on someone his own size, when he faces fellow David Ferrer, the fourth-seeded Spanish veteran, in the second round. Ferrer is also listed at 5 foot 9.
“I’ve watched a lot of video of Ferrer in the last couple of months,” Smyczek said. “He’s a guy I look up to a lot, because he’s more my body type, and he’s got a game that I am working towards.”
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