Lopez outlasts Dodig on Grandstand
Originally published on 28/08/14
Feliciano Lopez is the Spanish No.4 and with Rafael Nadal absent from the US Open and the higher-ranked David Ferrer and Roberto Bautista Agut already safely through to the second round, the 32-year-old joined his compatriots with a 1-6 7-5 2-6 6-4 1-1 RET scoreline.
His Croatian opponent Dodig, a player ranked 32 places below the Spaniard, had won their most recent encounter, in Barcelona earlier this year, in straight sets, and it was Dodig who got off to the better start, taking the first set 6-1 in just 23 minutes. Lopez regrouped and bagged the first game of the second set serving consecutive aces. The second set had the packed Grandstand court on their feet with a spectacular tweener lob by Dodig, but the Croat eventually dropped serve for the first time in the match and it was one set each after a second set that lasted nearly an hour.
Some scintillating net play saw Dodig in command in the third, rushing the net and breaking the Spaniard twice to take the set 6-2. Lopez managed to take the fourth set despite struggling with his serve, but the Spaniard’s big forehand allowed him to seal some winners and take the match to a decider.
With Dodig having lost five games in a row, the Croat called for the trainer to attend to a leg injury and one point later at 1-1 in the deciding set he called it a day after a two hours and 49 minutes. The left-handed Spaniard advanced to the second round, where he will meet the Japanese qualifier Tatsuma Ito. If the seedings remain true then Lopez could meet Ernests Gulbis in the third round.
Lopez has twice made it to the fourth round of the US Open, but he has not been in the second week since 2010. The left-hander upset two top 10 players in Toronto earlier this month, eventually losing to Roger Federer in the semi-finals, so he is in good form and although he outlasted rather than outplayed his first opponent, perhaps it was the warm-up he needed. With temperatures at 32 degrees on Wednesday, this match was certainly hot.
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