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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Gonzalez keeps good run going

Photo Titled Gritty Gonzalez
Gritty Gonzalez
French Open semi-finalist Fernando Gonzalez kept his hopes alive of a best ever Wimbledon by winning a war of attrition with 2009 debutant Leonardo Mayer.

Tenth seed Gonzalez has never got beyond the quarter-finals and has struggled on grass throughout his career. He started slowly against Mayer but came back from a set down to beat the Argentine in a match of few service breaks. Mayer, 22, stole the first set on a tie-breaker, 7-4, thanks to an ace at set point.

Gonzalez was never at his best but took his chances on the important points, winning three out of four break points to claim a solitary break in each set. He eventually triumphed 6-7 (4-7), 6-4, 6-4, 6-4, taking the match with a backhand volley.

American qualifier Jesse Levine awaits in the third round. Levine has enjoyed a fine Wimbledon, knocking out Marat Safin in the first round, and he beat Pablo Cuevas 6-2, 6-1, 4-6, 4-6, 6-3 to further enhance his reputation.

Radek Stepanek is no stranger to long matches at Wimbledon and he featured in his sixth five-set match in the space of three years at the All England Club. The No.23 seed came through 6-4, 4-6, 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 against Potito Starace.

Juan Carlos Ferrero had a similar afternoon to Gonzalez. He, too, was beaten in the first set, by Fabrice Santoro in a tiebreak. But the 2003 French Open winner’s experience made the difference in the end and he won 6-7 (1-7), 6-3, 6-4, 6-3.

There were no such worries for seeds Nikolay Davydenko, Victor Hanescu, Stanislas Wawrinka, David Ferrer and Tomas Berdych who all steamrolled their opponents in straight sets on a day of few upsets.

Jurgen Melzer, the Austrian 26th seed, won a “derby” match against the in-form German Benjamin Becker in a closely fought straight sets win, 7-6 (8-6), 6-3, 7-6 (7-1).

In the ladies’ second round, it was a similarly prosperous day for the seeds. Flavia Pennetta, the 15th seed, of Italy won through 6-2, 6-2 against American Vania King to set up a third-round clash with Amelie Mauresmo.

Na Li, the 19th seed, and 20th seed Anabel Medina Garrigues also enjoyed similarly comfortable afternoons. Li, from China, triumphed 6-4, 6-2 over Olga Govortsova. Spaniard Garrigues beat Tathiana Garbin 7-6 (7-
5), 6-3.

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