Canada's Dancevic upsets Ancic as Rogers Cup opens

The Canadian Press ~ The News
Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

Tennis

As he stepped up to the line, serving for the win, Frank Dancevic was serenaded by the scattered cheers that always seem to sneak into high-level tennis matches.

"Go Frank," someone yelled.

"Vive la Canada," yelled another.

In an instant, he served. And in another, the match was over. Dancevic beat Croatia's Mario Ancic 6-3, 6-4 on Monday night to win his first-round match at the Rogers Cup. And in victory, he earned the right to face Novak Djokovic - the defending champion - in the second round.

Frank Dancevic, of Canada stretches to make a return in his match against Mario Ancic of Croatia at the Rogers Cup in Toronto on Monday. Photo by The Canadian Press

Toronto - As he stepped up to the line, serving for the win, Frank Dancevic was serenaded by the scattered cheers that always seem to sneak into high-level tennis matches.

"Go Frank," someone yelled.

"Vive la Canada," yelled another.

In an instant, he served. And in another, the match was over. Dancevic beat Croatia's Mario Ancic 6-3, 6-4 on Monday night to win his first-round match at the Rogers Cup. And in victory, he earned the right to face Novak Djokovic - the defending champion - in the second round.

There was no questioning Dancevic's place as the main event on opening night. Not only was the 23-year-old born 90 minutes down the highway in Niagara Falls, but he had also shown himself remarkably adept at pushing the Canadian flag deep into several international tournaments, including the Rogers Cup.

He made it all the way to the quarter-finals of the tournament last year in Montreal, becoming the first Canadian in 18 years to venture that deep.

Dancevic won his first set against world No. 2 Rafael Nadal, but did not win another in a match that lasted more than two hours.

Injuries slowed him down

His run of upsets has continued this year, despite a rash of injuries.

Dancevic advanced to the second round of Wimbledon last month with an upset of No. 7 seed David Nalbandian. But a pulled oblique hampered him in his next match, and he lost in four sets to American Bobby Reynolds.

A bad back and an injured wrist had haunted him before the event.

"I've had a pretty shaky time this season," Dancevic told reporters in London. "The body just takes forever to come back after a long injury layoff, it's the toughest thing."

It looked easier for him in the early going Monday night. He broke Ancic's serve to go up 3-1 in the first set, cruising to a 6-3 win with a powerful blend of strength and touch around the net.

Ancic hurt himself chasing one of those soft shots. Down 4-2 in the first set, he sprinted after a ball near the net, but lost control and crashed into the umpire's chair, with his right shoulder taking the brunt of the collision.

A number of observers had groaned when Ancic's name was drawn for Dancevic before the tournament. The 24-year-old arrived in Toronto with three career ATP Tour titles and more than $3.6 million US in prize money. Dancevic began the tournament ranked No. 82, with $786,727 US in career winnings.

Ancic broke back in the second set to take a 2-0 lead, only to have the Canadian fight back to level.

Will face Djokovic tonight

He kept fighting, and won the chance to play another giant. He faces third-seeded Serbian Novak Djokovic tonight. Djokovic won this title last year in Montreal.

Failing to take advantage of opportunity cost Niemeyer, who lost a 7-6 (4) 6-1 decision to 12th-seeded Spaniard Tommy Robredo. Niemeyer matched Robredo stroke for stroke in the opening set and blasted eight aces compared to three for his opponent. But Niemeyer recorded none in the second set - compared to four for Robredo - as his play dropped off quickly and dramatically.

Niemeyer said the second game of the second set was a pivotal one in the match.

"I was a little disappointed losing the first set because I felt I dominated that one and deserved to win it," he said. "At 0-1, I was serving and I had an ad . . . and I had an easy forehand and he guessed the right side and ended up winning the point.

"From then on he just started serving better with a few aces and his game was fast, he guessed a couple on my serve and hit a few good returns. All of a sudden I was down 4-0, then I tried to battle back but against those type of players you can't really get down that far. I played a bad tie-breaker but I thought I was playing good tennis in the first set. I really didn't expect to lose that second set that fast. I think a little bit better start would've helped me."

Niemeyer and Robredo began play later than scheduled as rain earlier in the day forced a delay of about two hours.

Niemeyer's body language - slamming down towels and throwing balls away - clearly displayed his frustration in the match. At one point, he blasted a ball tossed to him by a ballboy out of the stadium.

And Niemeyer didn't hide his frustration when the match's referee called a Robredo return good when Niemeyer felt it was out with the Spaniard leading 5-1.

"What got under my skin was the return, I saw it long and the referee said it was way inside the line," Niemeyer said. "Stupid comments like that just get me a little bit.

"If it was in, it was barely touching the line.

Niemeyer's misery continued in doubles, where he and partner Julien Benneteau of France lost their first-round match 6-4, 6-4 to Switzerland's Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka.

Organizations: ATP Tour

Geographic location: Canada, Toronto, Montreal Croatia Niagara Falls US Wimbledon London France Switzerland

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page

Comments

Comments