straight points

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.

ISNER, BAGHDATIS NET TITLES

Six-foot-nine inch John Isner fought off match point to win first ATP title beating five-foot-eight-inch Arnaud Clement 6-3, 5-7, 7-6 (2) in the final of Heineken Open in Auckland. The 24-year-old Isner saved match point at 5-6 in the third set on serve and won the tie-break convincingly 7-2. After the final, the former University of Georgia All-American announced he would be donating $5,000 of his winner’s check to the Red Cross in its efforts to assist those affected by the recent earthquake in Haiti.

In Sydney, Marcos Baghdatis came back from a break down in the second set to overcome Richard Gasquet 6-4 7-6 in the rain-interrupted final. The Cypriot led 2:0 in the tie-break but served two consecutive double faults and lost seven straight points in all. Baghdatis won his fourth title in career and 15 out of last 16 matches, counting his triumph in Tashkent Challenger last year. “I felt great,” he said. “It’s my brother’s birthday, and I wanted to win for him also….So I’m very happy that I won today and can dedicate this win to him.”

Martin Edges Krickstein; To Vie For Fourth Straight Charlotte Final

CHARLOTTE, N.C., September 24, 2009 – Todd Martin defeated fellow American Aaron Krickstein 2-6, 7-6(3), 11-9 (Champions Tie-Breaker) Thursday to advance into the semifinals of the $150,000 Breezeplay Championships at The Palisades at The Palisades Country Club in Charlotte, N.C.  Martin, a singles finalist at the Outback Champions Series event in Charlotte for all three years of the tournament’s existence, will look to advance to a fourth straight final when he next plays the winner of Friday’s quarterfinal between Jim Courier and Mikael Pernfors.

In 2006, in the first-year of the event in Charlotte, Martin reached the tournament final, falling to Courier 5-7, 7-6 (6), 10-4 (Champions Tie-Breaker). In 2007, Martin lost to Pete Sampras 6-4, 6-4 in the championship match, while last year, Martin reached the final at The Palisades for a third straight year, losing to Courier again 6-2, 3-6, 10-5 (Champions Tie-Breaker).

Against Krickstein, Martin had his serve broken twice in the first set as Krickstein surprised Martin with penetrating forehand returns and consistent play from the baseline. Martin appeared frustrated and flustered on court and struggled with his consistency, but was able to hold serve six times in the second set to force the tie-breaker. Martin connected on some strongly hit forehands and timely first serves to win the tie-breaker 7-3 and force the first-to-10-point “Champions Tie-Breaker,” played in lieu of the third-set. Martin jumped out to an 8-4 lead and appeared ready to cruise to the come-back win but Krickstein rallied to win five straight points to hold match point at 9-8. Martin, however, rallied to save the match point and win the next two points to close out the match.

“The match for me was horrible in the beginning,” said Martin. “I knew it couldn’t get any worse. I always play my best when I’m not playing to win. At one point tonight I was just trying to lose gracefully. The courts are very slow which doesn’t suit me well. I rushed an awful lot in the first set and Aaron played really well.”

Martin will have Friday off as Courier and Pernfors play to determine who will play the 1999 U.S. Open singles finalist in the semifinals. Courier and Pernfors, however, were on the court Thursday night as both players competed in a special celebrity match that opened up the evening session, with Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory pairing with Pernfors to defeat Olympic Gold Medalist Skater Dan Jansen and Courier 6-4.

The remaining schedule of play for the tournament is as follows:

Friday, Sept. 25
Starting at 7 pm
Jim Courier vs. Mikael Pernfors
Followed By
Pat Cash vs. Jimmy Arias

Saturday, Sept. 26
Starting at 2 pm
Doubles Match
Followed By
Pete Sampras vs. Pat Cash/Jimmy Arias winner
Starting at 7 pm
Doubles Match
Followed By
Todd Martin winner vs. Jim Courier/Mikael Pernfors winner

Sunday, Sept. 27
Starting at 2 pm
Third Place Match
Followed by
Championship Match

Sampras won the opening event on the 2009 Outback Champions Series, defeating John McEnroe in the final of the Champions Cup Boston in February. McEnroe won the second event of the year in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, defeating Courier in the final. Sampras won his second title of the year at the Del Mar Development Champions Cup in Los Cabos, Mexico, defeating Patrick Rafter in the final. Courier won his first title of the 2009 season in April at the Cayman Islands, defeating Arias in the final. Cash successfully defended his title on the grass courts at the Hall of Fame Champions Cup in Newport, R.I. in August, defeating Courier in the final. Following Charlotte, the next event on the Outback Champions Series will be held in Surprise, Ariz., where Andre Agassi will make his debut Oct. 8-11.

Founded in 2005, the Outback Champions Series features some of the biggest names in tennis over the last 25 years, including Andre Agassi, Sampras, McEnroe, Courier and others. To be eligible to compete on the Outback Champions Series, players must have reached at least a major singles final, been ranked in the top five in the world or played singles on a championship Davis Cup team. The Outback Champions Series features seven events on its 2009 schedule with each event featuring $150,000 in prize money as well as Champions Series points that will determine the year-end Champions Rankings No. 1.

InsideOut Sports + Entertainment is a New York City-based independent producer of proprietary events and promotions founded in 2004 by former world No. 1 and Hall of Fame tennis player Jim Courier and former SFX and Clear Channel executive Jon Venison. In 2005, InsideOut launched its signature property, the Outback Champions Series, a collection of tennis events featuring the greatest names in tennis over the age of 30. In addition, InsideOut produces many other successful events including “Legendary Night” exhibitions, charity events, corporate outings and tennis fantasy camps such as the annual “Ultimate Fantasy Camp”. Through 2008, InsideOut Sports + Entertainment events have raised over $4 million for charity. For more information, please log on to www.InsideOutSE.com or www.ChampionsSeriesTennis.com.