Chennai Open: Goffin ousts MalisseJanuary 3rd, 2012 - 11:18 pm ICT by IANS
Chennai, Jan 3 (IANS) Little David Goffin pulled off a stunning 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 win against fellow-Belgian and former champion Xavier Malisse, seeded seventh, to advance to the second round of the Aircel Chennai Open tennis tournament here on Tuesday.
Earlier, qualifier Yuichi Sugita, the journeyman from Japan, knocked out eighth seeded Olivier Rochus of Belgium 6-3, 6-4 in another first round match to record his biggest career win.
The all-Belgian one hour, 53-minute match was literally a David vs Goliath contest. Goffin, standing a mere five feet, four inches in his socks, and ranked a distant 174, outslugged a fast tiring six-footer Malisse, the Belgian No.1, who went through the motions in the third set.
The 49th ranked Malisse, winner here on 2007, started off well by pouching the first set with a break of serve in the fifth game, but Goffin, a battler that he is, came surging back to take the second on two back-to-back breaks before running out an easy winner in the decider where Malisse, appearing rather unwell, dropped serve in the sixth.
“I think he was sick, may be something he ate last night. But I focused on my game, because I know that even if Malisse is not well, he can still hit the ball pretty hard. It is nice to have beaten him,” said Goffin.
The 23-year old Sugita, who was ranked a career-high of 162 exactly a year ago but has since slipped to current 235, had battled through the qualifying rounds to make it to main draw and he proved worthy of his spot.
Sugita, whose previous best win was against Somdev Devvarman in the 2011 Davis Cup tie, outclassed Rochus, ranked 67 and who will turn 30 on January 18.
In fact, the Japanese was unfazed by his opponent’s credentials that included two ATP tour titles and seven finals. The Belgian No.2 was ranked as high as 24 in 2004 when he was at his peak.
Slugging it out from the back court, Sugita served and returned well and showed greater mobility around the court as compared to Rochus who could never come to terms with the heat and humidity.
On the adjacent court, Eduoard Roger-Vasselin who had made it to the main draw as a replacement for the injured Devvarman after losing his final qualifying round to Japan’s Go Soeda, beat fellow-Frenchman Eric Prodon 6-4, 6-3.
Another impressive winner of the evening was Taipei’s Yen-Hsun Lu who put out qualifier Thiemo de Bakker of the Netherlands 6-3, 6-3, to join German Andreas Beck in the second round. Beck survived a tough second set tie-break to get past qualifier Vasek Pospisil of Canada 6-3, 7-6 (8).
Singles (1st round): LL-Edouard Roger-Vasselin (FRA) bt Eric Prodon 6-4, 6-3; Q-Yuichi Sugita (JPN) bt 8-Olivier Rochus (BEL) 6-3, 6-4; Victor Hanescu (ROM) bt Sam Querrey (USA) 6-3, 6-4; Yen-Hsun Lu (TPE) bt Q-Thiemo de Bakker (NED) 6-3, 6-3; Andreas Beck (GER) bt Q-Vasek Pospisil (CAN) 6-3, 7-6 (8); David Goffin (BEL) bt 7-Xavier Malisse (BEL) 4-6, 6-2, 6-3.
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Tags: aircel chennai, atp tour, battler, credentials, david goffin, david vs goliath, davis cup, decider, easy winner, fifth game, five feet four, footer, four inches, journeyman, motions, olivier rochus, open tennis tournament, tour titles, xavier malisse, yuichi