2014 Sport1 Open Update: Zeballos and Huta Galung among quarterfinalists
Chris de Waard, Tennis East Coast
There was a slight sense of panic lurking around Scheveningen, as the tournament was getting delayed by heavy rain, completely flushing out play on Tuesday. To make it even worse, the predictions were the same for Wednesday, but it turned out to be better than anticipated and play started around 14:00 local time.
Third seed Thomaz Bellucci was having all kinds of problems against Yannick Mertens from Belgium, dropping the first set but eventually coming through 4-6 6-1 6-4. Playing on Court 9 at a Challenger must have been a disheartening experience for the former world number 25, who has played in the biggest stadiums the sport has to offer. After the match, Bellucci claimed to have struggled with the heavy conditions and that he was not happy with his level of play. Nevertheless, he was glad to go through and was excited to still have an opportunity to emulate the performance of his coach, Francisco Clavet, who won this tournament exactly twenty years ago.
Over at Court 8, a very exciting match was being played between two players who triumphed over Nadal last year, Zeballos and Darcis. It’s a shame that this match was not played on a televised court, because it surely deserved a bigger crowd than it had. Zeballos won the high quality affair in three sets, 7-6(5) 3-6 6-4, after which he jumped in the air and let out a loud ‘Vamos!’.
On Court 1, a tragic encounter between Martin Fischer from Austria and Frenchman Gregoire Burquier ended with Burquier missing three match points in the second set and getting bageled in the third after he clearly struggled to mentally deal with his missed opportunities. The match ended 5-7 7-6(3) 6-0. Burquier’s countryman, Pierre-Hugues Herbert, had more luck as he ousted Uladzimir Ignatik 5-7 6-4 6-1.
The day ended on a remarkable note as the match of first seed Robin Haase against qualifier Dino Marcan (ranked #494) got suspended due to bad light at 5-2* in Marcan’s favor. On first sight, that’s not really remarkable, of course, but it already happened at 19:45 local time while under normal circumstances play could have gone on for another hour or two. This just shows how rough the weather conditions were. As play resumed the following day, Haase got back to *4-5, but he missed several game points and dropped the set 6-4. After that, however, his opponent wasn’t troubling him any longer and he won the match 4-6 6-3 6-0.
The stage was now set for the rematch of last year’s final between Haase and Huta Galung, which once again ended in Huta Galung’s favor. Huta Galung took down the first set in a tiebreak and was leading 5-2* in the second when he started to get tight, playing a horrendous game while he was serving for the match at *5-3. Haase won three games in a row and led 30-0 on Huta Galung’s serve at 5-5, but it wasn’t enough as Huta Galung still managed to hold serve and immediately break Haase in the next game to come through in two sets, 7-6(4) 7-5. With this result the #1 seed, playing at his home tournament, was knocked out in the second round.
Other results included Martin Fischer yet again escaping from the jaws of defeat, as he beat Herbert 3-6 7-5 6-2 after being down 3-6 *4-4 0-30. Another escape artist was seventh seed Andreas Beck, who came back after being *2-5 down in the first set against Lopez-Perez. He ended up saving two set points and taking down the tiebreak 10-8, after which the second set ended in a much easier 6-2 in Beck’s favor. Third seed Bellucci won’t be following in his trainer’s footsteps, as he went down 7-5 1-6 5-7 against Matteo Viola. Bellucci saved two match points at *6-5 in Viola’s favor, but on his third match point Viola ripped a backhand winner after an epic and gruesome 40-stroke rally.
The day ended with Zeballos being involved in another epic match, as he beat compatriot and second seed Diego Schwartzman 6-3 3-6 7-5. The matches clearly took their toll on Zeballos, as he was barely able to walk to the net after taking down the match point, which followed one of the many long rallies in this match.
The quarterfinal line-up is an interesting mix of seeds and surprises, as unseeded Martin Fischer will take on last year’s winner Jesse Huta Galung, fourth seed Aleksandr Nedovyesov will face fifth seed David Goffin, seventh seed Andreas Beck will meet unseeded Matteo Viola and the eighth seeded Brazilian Joao Souza will try to push unseeded Horacio Zeballos into further physical torture.