jitters

Polansky Gives Canadian Tennis A Big Boost

It’s safe to say that when you’re ranked outside of the top two hundred and find a way to defeat a guy ranked 15th in the world it’s likely the biggest win of your career. Such was the case Monday night with 22 year old Canadian Peter Polansky who defeated a big-time player in Jurgen Melzer.

Playing in the first match of the evening session, Polansky delighted the home town fans with a stirring display of shots worthy of a player far more experienced than he.

With both players staying on serve throughout the first set, a tiebreak was required to decide the opening frame. Unbelievably it would take Polanksy eight set points to gain the upper hand in the match and close out the set. In the process he saved one set point against him.

After the match I asked him if he was starting to sweat it after failing to capitalize on the first seven of those set points.

“Yeah, those were a little bit tought, I mean, having all those set points. But I knew even if it went to a breaker I was just going to stay with him. Even if I lost that first set, I was going to try not to let it get to me. I don’t think it was going to. I knew no matter what, he would have been in for a long match, because I was going to stay right there with him.”

With that huge boost of confidence Polansky kept the ball rolling by breaking Melzer in the opening game of the second set. His pre-tournament practice session with Roger Federer must have taught him a thing or two as he continually made shots you’d expect from a much higher ranked player.

Any nerves or jitters that Polansky was feeling were well hidden as he won four straight points leading 5-4 on serve to secure the 7-6(6), 6-4 victory.

After the match Polansky revealed that despite his struggles of late, he was inspired by some positive results in practice the past few days. During that time he revealed that he took a practice set from Tommy Robredo of Spain and split sets with Frenchman Arnaud Clement.

Next up for Polansky is 54th ranked Victor Hanescu. The Romanian toppled one Canadian hope earlier today in Milos Raonic and Polansky joked that he might text Raonic for some inside information before his second round match.

“…Milos and I are friends, so I’ll get some tips from him. And the whole Tennis Canada staff, they were watching as well. I’m sure they’ll have something to say. I mean, regardless, I’m going to go out there playing my game and doing what I can.”

For now Polansky can take a big sigh of relief at the ranking points he defended from his first round win a year ago in Montreal and hopefully also find time to enjoy the moment before his next match here in Toronto.

Federer’s Who’s Who Accolade: The Friday Five

By Maud Watson

The Real Deal – Kim Clijsters is quickly going on to prove that her dash to the US Open title was no fluke. In an exhibition match played earlier this week in her native Belgium, Clijsters once again defeated former world No. 1 Venus Williams. This time the Belgian secured an emphatic straight sets win, taking out the elder Williams 6-1, 7-5. She’s looking like a strong candidate to follow up her US Open run with a victory for her first title in the Land Down Under.

This Comeback is For Real – Not to be outdone by her compatriot, Justine Henin has also recently been making headlines. The former world No. 1 played two exhibition matches this past week.  The first was against fellow countrywoman Kirsten Flipkens (No. 81), whom she defeated 6-4, 6-4.  She then followed that up with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Italian sensation Flavia Pennetta, the current World No. 12.  As the Belgian works out the jitters that will inevitably come as she makes her comeback, there’s little doubt that she already looks primed to put together a good run at the 2010 Australian Open.

Icing on the Cake – 2009 has been a banner year for the Swiss maestro. He got married, became a father, completed the career Grand Slam, broke Sampras’ record for most Grand Slam singles titles, and became the first since Ivan Lendl to reclaim the year-end No. 1 ranking.  Now, even in the off season, life keeps getting better for Roger Federer.   It was announced earlier this week that he has been named to the prestigious “Who’s Who” list, along with Hollywood actors Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman among other notable names.  It’s a well-deserved accolade, and I’m sure he’ll be adding plenty more to the list come 2010.

Sensational Sydney – The off season has barely begun (and yet is nearly over), but tennis fans must be licking their chops for the Australian hard court season.  The tune up events for the first major of the year are looking good, especially Sydney. The Sydney field currently boasts nine of the world’s Top 10 players, with Venus Williams being the only absentee among the WTA’s Top 10.  The men’s field in Sydney is nothing to sneeze at either, with former world No. 1 and home favorite Lleyton Hewitt competing, as well as popular Frenchman Gael Monfils and former Australian Open finalist Marcos Baghdatis.

Vamos España! – Well, the nation of Spain has done it once again.  They won their fourth Davis Cup title since the year 2000 and have cemented themselves as the most dominant team of the decade.  Additionally, with their win over the Czech Republic, Spain became the first nation since Sweden in 1998 to successfully defend the Davis Cup, and their accomplishment was rewarded with special recognition and praise from Spanish Prime Minister Zapatero.  The win also brought Rafael Nadal’s 2009 campaign to an end on a positive note.  The Spaniard will be looking to use the Davis Cup victory as a springboard to bigger and better things in 2010.