Blake blasts through in New Haven
Originally published on: 24/08/10 10:53
Two-time Pilot Pen champion James Blake made the most of his wildcard entry to this year’s event, blitzing Spain’s Pere Riba 6-0 6-1 in lightning-quick style.
The former world No.4, who recently slipped out of the world’s top 100 following persistent knee problems, took just 35 minutes and 36 seconds to book his spot in the second round – the fastest ATP World Tour victory of the year to date.
“I was just trying to win. I wanted to get it done as quickly as possible,” said Blake, who lost just seven points on serve to set up tonight’s second-round match against No.7 seed Alexandr Dolgopolov.
“I am a perfectionist. I try to find things wrong, things I can work on but today I can’t complain. I did everything I needed to do and I felt great.”
In a season which has seen the 30-year-old lose in the first round in seven of his 13 tournament outings, including his last two events in Washington and Cincinnati, the result represents the timeliest of confidence boosts.
“It’s a really good feeling just to go out there and play healthy,” Blake said. “It is still a matter of being 100% and wanting to feel good out there. I know I still have it in me, it is just a matter of being able to do it consistently.
“Today it was there. I am sure it had to do with being in front of the home fans, being comfortable here and all that kind of stuff. It was giving me a real good feeling.”
It was a good day for the American men all round as Taylor Dent and Donald Young also progressed on another rain-affected day in Connecticut following Sunday’s washout.
Dent needed three sets to beat Argentina’s Eduardo Schwank but eventually prevailed 7-6(1) 4-6 6-0 in just over two hours. Wildcard Young hammered France’s Stephane Robert 6-1 6-2.
Lucky loser Radek Stepanek was able to dismantle Uruguay’s Pablo Cuevas 6-0 6-4, while there were wins for Igor Andreev over Arnaud Clement and Benjamin Becker against Marco Chiudinelli.
Qualifiers Mikhail Kukushkin and Teymuraz Gabashvili also advanced, beating Simon Greul and Potito Starace, while Andreas Seppi lost 6-3 6-4 to Jarkko Nieminen. Serbia’s Jan Hajek posted a 7-5 6-3 win over Dustin Brown.