The Ultimate ATP Tournament: First Round (Second Quarter)

Sergey ZikovSenior Analyst IFebruary 28, 2009

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 second quarter of the tournament bracket which includes Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras.


Match No. 10: Stan Smith (USA) vs. Johan Kriek (RSA)

Result: Smith in four. 6-3, 4-6, 7-6, 6-0.

Stan Smith was a terrific player when it came to artificial surfaces, but once he got onto clay or grass, it was a different story. Despite winning the Wimbledon title in 1972, his success on grass was limited. Johan Kriek was at his best on hard courts, winning both of his Slams on hard.

Smith came in not messing around, and he got straight to business, ripping out to a 5-0 lead in the first set. But his luck seemed to catch up with him, as Kriek then came right back with his own solid play, winning the next three. Smith would then hold serve to hold the set.

Smith wasn't a great clay court player, and neither was Kriek. But Kriek carried some of his momentum from the first set outside to the red clay where he got an early break and then simply served it out for the set. Smith had two chances to break and he couldn't capitalize.

Grass figured to be one of their most competitive surfaces, and it did not disappoint. Both players held serve exceptionally well, taking the set to a tiebreak where Smith came away with the slightest advantage.

Kriek can't like his chances going back indoors to the carpet, a surface that Smith had figured out to an exact science. His initial feeling was correct, as Smith dominated his way to the set and the match, winning 6-0 on carpet.

Smith will now advance to play Andre Agassi in the second round.

Match No. 11: Michael Chang (USA) vs. Harold Solomon (USA)

Result: Solomon in four. 1-6, 7-6, 7-5, 6-3.

This appears to be a mismatch on paper, Solomon never won a Slam in his career. But don't tell him that. This match doesn't start out how Solomon would like, playing on hard courts. Chang sprints out of the gate and never looks back, disposing of the first set in 25 minutes.

Solomon quickly found the clay to be more to his liking, despite facing a former French Open champ. Solomon paced out to a 5-2 lead, but Chang made a fierce comeback. Solomon was able to force a tiebreak and score the set.

Neither of these players had much success on grass, but Solomon again came up with the magic touch, forcing Chang to play catch-up all set. Solomon put this one away before a tiebreak, and the upset-minded American only needed one more set to put away Chang.

To the carpet they go, a surface they both had equal success. Chang wanted to give everything he had, but Solomon had worked him extremely well in the past two sets. Despite Chang playing with fire early in the set, the wheels quickly started to fall off and the effects were painfully obvious. Solomon jumped on it and scored the upset, 6-3.

Solomon will advance to take on the winner of Becker/Gilbert.

Match No. 12: Brad Gilbert (USA) vs. No. 12 Boris Becker (GER)

Result: Becker in four. 6-7, 6-2, 6-4, 6-2.

For the first time in this tournament, we see two players with some serious history between them. Becker and Gilbert met ten times during their career, Becker taking six. Gilbert was a major thorn in Becker's side, due to his insanely strong mental game.

Both players were very strong on hard courts, but Gilbert owned the hard courts when they met. Becker simply could not break Gilbert in the first set, and it lead to his demise in the tiebreaker. Gilbert did exactly what he wanted to do, put Becker in a hole.

But the highly skilled German wasn't going anywhere. Despite neither player having won a clay court tournament in their career, Becker was thrice a semifinalist at Roland Garros. He abused his way to an easy 6-2 win in the second set to even the match.

As the duo moved to grass, Becker knew he had a significant advantage. The three-time Wimbledon champion made no hesitation in taking the play straight to Gilbert, making him earn every single point. Gilbert tried making a response, but Becker was simply too strong and won fairly easy, 6-4.

Becker was extremely confident going to the carpet with a 2-1 advantage. He was a major force on carpet, winning a ridiculous 26 titles. Gilbert was powerless to do anything about it and it was quickly in the books, with Becker winning again by the count of 6-2.

Becker now moves on to take on Harold Solomon.

Match No. 13: No. 13 Guillermo Vilas (ARG) vs. Marcelo Rios (CHI)

Result: Vilas in three. 6-4, 6-0, 6-3.

It's a sin these two could have never met in reality. Two hammering lefties who lived on clay. However, Vilas' versatility would come in incredibly handy in this match.

Vilas dictated play early on the hard courts, but definitely showed signs that it wasn't his best surface. He was also not on top of his game at all times, allowing Rios to break twice. But he answered back, eventually winning a sloppy first set, 6-4.

Then they headed out to the red clay for what figured to be a much better set. But it was not to be, as Vilas, holder of the most clay court titles in a career, made Rios look downright foolish. The Argentine was as close to untouchable as you can get, blowing Rios away 6-0.

Rios was now incredibly angered after his performance on clay, and desperately needed to redeem himself on grass. However, as grass was not his best surface, his rage quickly turned into mistakes and Vilas jumped all over it, winning easily, 6-3. It took Vilas a mere 70 minutes to dispose of Rios.

Vilas will now face the winner of Dibbs/Muster.

Match No. 14: Eddie Dibbs (USA) vs. Thomas Muster (AUT)

Result: Muster in five. 7-6, 6-2, 4-6, 6-7, 6-2.

Dibbles and the King of Clay had never done the tango, but this one figured to be a heck of a contest. Both players were average on the hard courts, and Muster came out with a little more desire to win.

Although Dibbs did a tremendous job taking a set to a tiebreak when it shouldn't have, Muster pulled a little extra out and took a critical first set.

Although Dibbs had some clay success, he was facing the King. And the King doesn't bow to anybody on clay. Muster mashed his way to a commanding 4-0 lead in the set and was eventually rewarded with a 6-2 set victory and 2-0 lead in the match.

But Dibbs wasn't done yet. Running on sheer adrenaline now, he fought his way to an inspired 6-4 set win on grass. Muster attempted to answer, but the desperate Dibbs found a way.

Muster was suddenly more inspired as well, wanted to put this match in the books. Dibbs still had a ton of fight left, and he forced the carpet set to another tiebreaker. This time Muster wasn't so lucky and Dibbs jumped on his chance, taking the fourth and leveling the match. Dibbs also fought off two match points.

Dibbs then took Muster to two all on hard courts, but immediately hit a brick wall on his service. Whatever had been driving Eddie wasn't there for him, and Muster responded with three quick games.

Looking for a magic answer, Dibbs made his final stand. But it wasn't enough to hold back the King.

Muster will take on Guillermo Vilas in the second round.

Match No. 15: Yannick Noah (FRA) vs. Sergi Bruguera (ESP)

Result: Noah in four. 7-5, 7-6, 3-6, 6-2.

These two met once in their careers, but sadly, Noah was far past his prime. Both players won a bear's share of titles on clay.

Noah, with his 6'4" frame, wanted to also show he could dominate on hard courts. Although he did not dominate Bruguera, he played well enough to earn the first set. Bruguera made a few critical errors in pressure situations and it allowed Noah a way to grab the set.

There seems to be a number of dominant clay players in this quarter. But for how good both of these players are on clay, neither could get any sort of rhythm. After four breaks and uncharacteristic sloppy play, the set fell into a tiebreak. Noah won the breaker quickly, 7-2.

Neither one of these two had much success on grass. So, this was an equally as sloppy set, but for a different reason. On clay it was due to both players playing well. This was the opposite. Both slugged it out, but Bruguera did just enough to win and get back into the match.

But it was all for naught, as Bruguera was basically clueless stepping onto carpet. Noah wasn't exactly at home either, but he had his share of success and experience. The Frenchman was focused on the prize, and guided his way to a simple 6-2 win and the match.

Noah will advance to play Pete Sampras in the second round.

Now lets examine the second round of the second quarter.

  1. No. 5 Andre Agassi (USA) vs. Stan Smith (USA)
  2. Harold Solomon (USA) vs. No. 12 Boris Becker (GER)
  3. No. 13 Guillermo Vilas (ARG) vs. Thomas Muster (AUT)
  4. Yannick Noah (FRA) vs. No. 4 Pete Sampras (USA)

Enjoy and stay tuned for the results of the third quarter! 


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