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joyful rogger fedder

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Gonzalez grinds down Russian

Photo Titled Fernando Gonzalez
Fernando Gonzalez
No.10 seed Fernando Gonzalez carved out a second round place but was initially made to fight against Russian Teimuraz Gabashvili before wrapping up a 7-5, 7-5, 6-3 victory.

Support was clearly on the side of the Chilean, who walked out on Court 18 to ear-splitting applause. But while he may have been the bigger name, the match was by no means one-sided – at least in the first couple of sets anyway.

Gabashvili held his own early on in the duel, which saw him match the speed and ferocity of Gonzalez’s groundstrokes in a largely baseline affair.

It may have helped him that Gonzalez had not played any grass court tournaments in the run-up to Wimbledon. His last competitive match was at Roland Garros on clay nearly three weeks ago, when he was defeated in the semi-finals by Robin Soderling.

Meanwhile, Gabashvili is having the best year of his career, having reached his highest ranking of No.59 in February.

Indeed, there was not much to separate the two in the first set and when the Chilean required medical attention to his right knee, it seemed as if there was a potential for an upset.

But Gonzalez managed to stay on top. He had four set points at 5-4 but Gabashvili dug his heels in and came off better in a series of superb rallies.

But that Russian resistance could not be maintained and two games later a netted volley handed Gonzalez the set on his sixth set point.

Drama unfolded in the second set when Gabashvili broke to lead 4-3 but then went 0-40 down on serve and smashed his racket. Gonzalez could not help but smile when his opponent wandered to the chair and changed his racket. He promptly broke him and pocketed the second set 7-5.

By the third the Chilean had ruffled his 24-year-old opponent and he went on to comfortably claim the match in two hours and 14 minutes.

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