The Ultimate ATP Tournament: Second Round (Third Quarter)
The epic first round of the Ultimate ATP Tournament has finished, and the 32 remaining combatants now prepare to face the second round gauntlet.
The top eight seeds will see their first action of the tournament and some of the lucky first round winners are rewarded with playing a great.
Sound the horns and fasten your seat belts because the stakes have been raised yet again.
Here are the results of the second round, second quarter, which includes Roger Federer and John McEnroe.
Match No. 41: No. 3 Roger Federer (SUI) vs. Goran Ivanisevic (CRO)
Result: Federer in five. 6-7, 6-3, 6-4, 5-7, 8-6.
Big frame. Huge serve. Left-handed power. Sound like a formula for disaster for Roger Federer? He'd say no chance. Ivanisevic wanted to keep points as short as possible and forget about his two defeats at the hands of Federer in the past.
Ivanisevic started the match indoors going shot for shot with Federer. His enormous serve continued to give Rodge nightmares. No breaks, no extended rallies, exactly the set that Ivanisevic prayed for. The big Croatian was right where he wanted to be, in a tiebreak.
Federer gave it his best shot, but Ivanisevic didn't even come close to breaking. One to nil, Ivanisevic.
As strange as it may sound, Federer was relaxed and happy heading onto clay. Ivanisevic was not a particularly strong player on clay, and Federer took a strategy of bunting returns back. It began working for him, as Ivanisevic could not match Federer's ground strokes. Roger quickly earned the first two breaks of the match and tied the match up.
Federer was about to get even more comfortable. Endless pastures! Freshly mowed grass! Hallelujah! Federer took no time in establishing his dominance, making Goran look quite foolish at times. But even still, Ivanisevic hung around and never let Federer run away.
But Federer had the early break and that was all she wrote. Two to one Fed-Express.
Well, as Mirka rejoiced, Ivanisevic plotted. And he had good reason to be thrilled. Carpet was his domain and a surface that the great Roger was not experienced in.
It didn't take long for Goran's prowess to emerge, and it only took a few rookie mistakes from Federer for Ivanisevic to gain the crucial break he needed. The heavy serving Croatian had tied the match.
Was Federer vulnerable? Ivanisevic had already taken the first set on hard courts. But with the match on the line, Federer took his game up another notch. Unfortunately, Ivanisevic also managed to find an extra kick to his already gigantic serve.
All tied up at six all, it looked like the set would go on forever. But Federer got a break and cashed in after that. All rejoice in the Federer camp.
Federer will face the winner of Stefan Edberg and Gustavo Kuerten.
Match No. 42: Gustavo Kuerten (BRA) vs. No. 14 Stefan Edberg (SWE)
Result: Edberg in four. 6-4, 5-7, 6-2, 6-1.
Edberg, the all-surface monster, had no plans of bowing out to an upset. Guga Kuerten however, had to be feeling the effects of a marathon five-setter against Carlos Moya. Let's roll!
Edberg began controlling play on hard courts, taking advantage of every mistake Kuerten made. That was a fair number for the clay court specialist. Edberg cruised early but allowed a minor comeback by Kuerten, but the set was never in serious doubt. Edberg 1-0.
If there was any set that Kuerten considered a must-win, it was clay. It remains by far the Brazilians' finest surface by a long stretch. Edberg was no slouch on clay either. Kuerten, serving very well, managed to also get the first break of the set.
It would in no way be the only break, as the next four service games by both players finished in breaks. But Guga managed to keep relative control and gain the victory.
Edberg looked more focused than a prep school girl taking the SAT going to the grass. This was Edberg's must win set. He certainly did not disappoint. Running out to a 4-0 lead, Edberg was in total control from the first serve. Kuerten didn't have the answers and was quickly down a set.
Kuerten started feeling the effects of the previous match. His legs felt like lead. His racquet felt like a baseball bat. Edberg managed to overcome his opponent's struggles and medical timeout to take the set easily, 6-1.
He will face Roger Federer in the third round.
Match No. 43: No. 11 Mats Wilander (SWE) vs. Yevgeny Kafelnikov (RUS)
Result: Kafelnikov in five. 6-7, 2-6, 7-6, 6-3, 6-4.
The Flying Wilander wants desperately to set up a match with Roger Federer. But he has some considerable work to do if he wants to get there, first starting with Russian Yevgeny Kafelnikov.
Wilander started with business as usual, taking care of his own serve and putting pressure on Kafelnikov every service game. But as much as the Russian bent, he did not break and forced Wilander to keep serving.
Wilander became frustrated when he was not running away with the set as he wanted to. It was forced into a tiebreaker by a drained Kafelnikov, which was won easily by Wilander.
Despite an easy result against Jose-Luis Clerc in the first round, the four set match was taxing on Kafel and he began to feel it already. Not good. Wilander was like a cat jumping on a ball of yarn—he pounced on Kafelnikov's weakness and exploited it immediately.
Forcing him to run down balls left and right, it was showing at 5-1 Wilander. Kafelnikov took a medical timeout.
It didn't matter, as Wilander would breeze to another set win. Two-love Wilander.
Kafelnikov looked as good as dead. The grass was coming up, one of the better surfaces for both players. But Kafel was having problems and Wilander knew it. Or was he?
The crafty Russian pulled a trick, allowing Wilander an early break and going down 2-0. Wilander had it in his head that Kafelnikov was weak. He started to become insanely aggressive, and that's when Kafel emerged.
Kafel jumped all over him, winning the next five games and forcing Wilander to scramble just to get it to a tiebreak, which Kafelnikov won easily.
The carpet courts were advantage Yevgeny, who now had all the momentum in the world. Even Wilander couldn't slow it down, as Kafelnikov stormed out to a huge early lead. In a reversal of fortunes, Mats was now the one gasping for air and called for a trainer. Two all, let's go back to the hard courts.
Kafelnikov had lost the first one on hard courts, but he was running on sheer adrenaline now. Losing wasn't an option. Wilander did not have any such tricks up his sleeve, his pain was very real. He suffered a quick early break, and it was all the Russian needed to score the upset of the second round.
Kafelnikov will move on to face the winner of John McEnroe and Andres Gomez.
Match No. 44: Andres Gomez (ECU) vs. No. 6 John McEnroe (USA)
Result: McEnroe in three. 6-0, 7-5, 6-3.
This is a true case of Cinderella vs. Caesar's legions. Gomez utterly flattened Jan Kodes in the first round. John McEnroe is looking to flatten everybody in his path to the title. With the odds heavily stacked against the Ecuadorian, does he stand a fighting chance?
McEnroe began playing like he was disgusted Gomez was even on court with him. As he blistered out to a 5-0 lead, McEnroe yelled after whacking another forehand winner "Is that it?!" He disposed of the last game to hold Gomez at love.
McEnroe was issued a warning by the chair as he launched the ball into the rafters.
Gomez apparently got the message. He instantly looked more comfortable playing on the clay, but wild man McEnroe wanted to have the match done in about an hour. He attacked everything off Gomez's racquet with the utmost aggression, nearly getting him into trouble. Gomez hung around, but the legion powered to a second set win.
Gomez looked like he was pretty much out of energy and drive. Mac started out on the grass coming to net almost like it was programmed into his brain. Simply depositing every shot Gomez hit into the frontcourt, the Ecuadorian looked completely deflated after a few games.
After the match ended, McEnroe simply walked off the court without acknowledging Gomez was even there. But at least he would congratulate him after saluting the fans.
McEnroe will face Yevgeny Kafelnikov in round three.
Now let's examine the bottom half of the third round.
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