The Ultimate ATP Tournament has begun! Sound the trumpets and assemble the grounds crew! Let the raucous fans in! Pray that it doesn't rain!
Well lucky for us, there won't be any rain.
If you've missed any portion of how the Ultimate ATP Tour will work, allow me to educate you.
First, the players will be seeded in this Utopian tournament as according to "The Top 25 Greatest Male Tennis Players of the Open Era"
Second, the brief introduction to the tournament and how it will be played can be found here: The Ultimate ATP Tournament: Introduction
And finally, the entire tournament draw can be found here: The Ultimate ATP Tournament: The Draw
Now for the main attraction. The results are in for the first quarter of the tournament bracket which includes Rod Laver and Ivan Lendl.
Match No. 2: Marat Safin (RUS) vs. Pat Cash (AUS)
Result: Safin in five. 6-3, 6-2, 5-7, 4-6, 6-4.
Safin, as a power player, has a major upper hand on the hard courts. This was extremely obvious as he dominated play inside on hard, winning a routine set 6-3. He kept his composure and was never broken.
Moving on to the red clay, neither of these players have excelled on this surface. But Safin jumps out to an early 4-0 lead, scoring two breaks. He remains in complete control, takes the second set 6-2, and now has a commanding 2-0 lead in the match.
However his fortunes would quickly change. Moving to the grass, a surface that Cash's serve and volley style excels, the 1987 Wimbledon champion began to move. Although Safin held strong, he was broken at five all, allowing Cash to serve for the set.
Cash is not going away lightly. The versatile Aussie shows he can play at a high level on carpet too, while Safin on the other hand struggles to get a footing. Cash cruises out to a 5-2 lead in the set and never looks back. Uh oh, we're knotted at two.
The final set leads us back outside to the hard courts. Safin feels devastated not being able to put the match away when he had the chance.
But the gods were in his favor today, allowing him an early break for 3-1. He struggles through a few service games but comes out limping as the victor.
Safin will move on to play Rod Laver in Round Two.
Match No. 3: Jim Courier (USA) vs. Nikolai Davydenko (RUS)
Result: Courier in three. 6-2, 6-4, 6-2.
Another Russian steps up, but he takes on American great Jim Courier. This match doesn't start out the way Davydenko would have liked either - facing Courier on his most dominant surface.
The two-time Aussie Open champion hammers his way to a fast 4-0 lead, and puts Davydenko away in a pedestrian 35 minutes.
Davydenko likes his chances a little more on red clay, the surface where he has won the most. But unlucky for him, Courier also won two French Open titles. Davydenko puts up a little more of a fight, but Courier still is in complete command, dictating points and still not yielding a break point chance to the Russian. Two to nil, Courier.
Davydenko now needs to win on grass, something he has never done in his career. Courier will make sure of that, gutting out a painful 6-2 victory.
Courier will take on the winner of Ferrero/Newcombe.
Match No. 4: Juan Carlos Ferrero (ESP) vs. No. 16 John Newcombe (AUS)
Result: Newcombe in four. 6-4, 5-7, 6-1, 6-3.
Although this looks like a mismatch on paper, Ferrero has other ideas. On hard courts, Newcombe dominated to the tune of 12 titles. Newcombe jumps out with an early break for 3-0, and Ferrero, despite playing well, can not overcome the deficit. Newcombe holds comfortably to take the set, 6-4.
Ferrero's day is looking up. He has won 8/11 of his titles on clay, including the French Open in 2003. But Newcombe is no slouch, and he again jumps out to a 3-0 lead. However, Juan Carlos would take the next five games and hold off Newcombe for a tie in the match.
Newcombe did not panic. He had won three Wimbledon titles plus two other grass court titles to Ferrero's zero. The Aussie quickly established his dominance on the grass, dictating points and taking the net en route to a 6-1 walk.
Newcombe also wanted to establish his early dominance as they moved back indoors to the carpet. A surface mostly unfamiliar to Ferrero, he gave it his best shot but came up far short as Newcombe's buzzsaw just kept on turning.
Newcombe will face Jim Courier in the second round.
Match No. 5: No. 9 Ken Rosewall (AUS) vs. Roscoe Tanner (USA)
Result: Rosewall in five. 6-7, 6-4, 7-5, 2-6, 11-9
Ken Rosewall wants to show he is worth the ninth ranking. Roscoe Tanner wants to show he belongs in this tournament. Tanner came out firing on all cylinders in the first set on hard courts, pushing Rosewall into a tiebreak.
The intensity was at a high point as Tanner scampered away with a 7-0 victory for the first set.
Tanner's missile of a serve continued to cause problems for the smaller Rosewall early in the second set. Rosewall made a couple of adjustments however, and forced Tanner to win points off his strokes.
Rosewall easily began to take over, as he forced his way to five consecutive games to win on clay.
Rosewall attempted to use the same system on grass, and he saw very solid results. But Tanner had also made some adjustments, and Rosewall was beginning to tire. His huge serve was getting to Rosewall, but the Aussie somehow hung on for a 7-5 win on grass.
Moving to the carpet, a surface where Tanner was bizarrely dominant throughout his career. Rosewall looked dead in the water throughout the set, and Tanner hammered out an easy 6-2 win.
But as all great champions do, Rosewall found some extra grit in the fifth set. Moving to the hard courts, both players held serve until Tanner's big serve betrayed him at 12 all.
Rosewall will take on the winner of Roddick/Amritraj in the second round.
Match No. 6: Andy Roddick (USA) vs. Vijay Amritraj (IND)
Result: Roddick in three. 6-2, 7-6, 6-4.
Roddick, one of the biggest servers of all time, looks to control play. Amritraj is just looking for a way. Roddick jumps out early on the big Indian, and takes the first set in commanding fashion. He scores seven aces in the first set.
Roddick, not known for his prowess on clay, will now move to one of Amritraj's better surfaces. Roddick still manages to control play, but every time he seems to get an advantage, Amritraj has the answers. The set moves to a tiebreak, where Roddick runs away. Two-nil, Roddick.
Roddick can feel the victory, and takes his level of play up even more. Serving to kill, Amritraj finds no answers and folds 6-4.
Roddick will take on No. 9 Ken Rosewall in the second round.
Match No. 7: Thomas Enqvist (SWE) vs. Patrick Rafter (AUS)
Result: Rafter in three. 6-4, 6-4, 7-5.
Rafter appears to have a major advantage when it comes to hard courts, as he holds seven of them. He also possesses a 6-2 record when facing Enqvist. Although Enqvist's only two victories came on hard courts, he wasn't so skilled indoors.
Rafter gets the only break of the set, and it's the only one he would need, taking the set 6-4.
Rafter dominated their meetings on clay, a surface that was never overly friendly to Enqvist. After several early breaks, Rafter maintained control and pulled out another 6-4 victory.
Their only meeting on grass came at Wimbledon in 1999. Rafter won that meeting in straight sets, although the first set was extremely close. Rafter pulls out another close one here, 7-5.
Rafter will take on No. 8 Ivan Lendl in the second round.
Now lets examine the second round of the first quarter.
- No. 1 Rod Laver(AUS) vs. Marat Safin(RUS)
- Jim Courier (USA) vs. No. 16 John Newcombe (AUS)
- No. 9 Ken Rosewall (AUS) vs. Andy Roddick (USA)
- Patrick Rafter (AUS) vs. No. 8 Ivan Lendl (CZE)
Enjoy and stay tuned for the results of the Second Quarter!