It was a bad start to the week for a number of the up and comers on the ATP World Tour with David Goffin, Jerzy Janowicz and Martin Klizan all exiting in the first round in Auckland.
After leading 5-2 with a double break in the first set, it all went downhill for Goffin against Thomaz Bellucci. He would manage to battle to a tiebreak but lost the all important point at 5-5 on his serve allowing the Brazilian to convert and take the first set. An early break would see to Goffin’s chances in the second set as he won just four points on return. Bellucci would get the insurance break at 4-2 but it wouldn’t be needed as Bellucci confidently served out to love for a 7-6 (5) 6-2 win to move to the second round.
Breaks were at more of a premium between big serving Janowicz and his American opponent Brian Baker. Baker was an unfortunate loser of the first set, having faced just one break point to the three he held on Janowicz’ serve including one when the Pole was serving out the set. More break points came and went in the second set as a tie break got closer and closer. Baker looked like he would finally make the breakthrough at 6-5 up, taking a 40-0 lead on Janowicz serve but the Pole held his nerve once more and earned a tiebreak. Janowicz recovered an early mini break only to hand it straight back to Baker, and with it two set points at 4-6. The first was saved but Baker converted the second on his serve to set up a decider. It appeared that losing the second set took a lot out of Janowicz as the previously unbreakable Pole went down a double break at 1-4*. A love hold for Baker made it 5-1 and it looked like that would be it but Janowicz had other ideas – from 1-5 and 0-40 he would win 13 straight points to force Baker to serve for the match once more. Baker blew 40-0 again as he was pegged back to deuce but held his nerve to take the match 4-6 7-6 (5) 6-4 on his eighth match point.
Not quite as dramatic as the previous match, but still a thrilling three set encounter was Xavier Malisse‘s 7-6 (4) 3-6 6-3 victory over Martin Klizan. After the pair traded breaks early in the first set, there was little in the way of danger on either players serve for the rest of the first set so a tiebreak would be needed. Early minibreaks would be exchanged before Klizan dropped serve on the seventh point of the tie break to fall 4-3 behind. Malisse converted both points on serve to earn three set points, taking the second for a set lead.
Klizan would fight back in the second set, blowing Malisse away as he quickly went 5-0 up. He failed to close out the set serving at 5-1 and would be broken, but second time round there were no such worries as he took the set 6-3. With the momentum seemingly in Klizan’s favour, he would get to deuce on Malisse’s serve to open the set but failed to break. The all important break would come at 1-2 as Malisse suddenly burst into a 0-40 lead and took the second break point to go 3-1 up. After saving a break point in the next game on his way to holding for 4-1, it would be comfortable for Malisse who held on until the end for the win, finishing with a hold to love to move into the second round.