Schuettler battles through
Paris - 29/10/03
o5 seed German Rainer Schuettler rallied from a set down to rattle American James Blake and gain the round of sixteen.
The 27-year-old German downed his 23-year-old young opponent 4/6, 6/2, 6/3 in 1 hour and 33 minutes. His foe in the next round will be Chilean Nicolas Massu, the number 10 seed.
Schuettler deployed his trademark counterpunching game and broke the American for the first time in the fourth game to race ahead 3-1. But Blake, who scored his first win of the European indoor season on Monday with a win over Chilean Fernando Gonzalez, took charge and immediately broke back to even the contest at 3-all. The Harlem native felt stronger as the match progressed and overwhelmed Schuettler by dictating the tempo with his huge forehand.
But never count the relentless Schuettler out. The 6-ranked German, a runner-up in Australia this past January, raised his game in the second set and found his comfort zone, breaking his opponent three times (2nd, 4th and 6th game) to draw the match even.
Frustrated by the terrier-like retrievals of his opponent, Blake, ranked 36th, was driven to the point of despair as Schuettler coasted to an easy victory.
Hope he serves better tomorrow