Miami, FL Ricky Dimon
The first day of main-draw action in men’s singles at the 2014 Sony Open saw Jeremy Chardy outlast Juan Monaco in a thriller on Stadium court. Chardy prevailed 7-5, 3-6, 7-6(5) after two hours and 38 minutes to set up a second-round date with second-seeded Novak Djokovic.
It almost ended prior to a final-set tiebreaker, when the 48th-ranked Frenchman forced Monaco into a 15-40 situation at 4-5. Monaco saved the first match point with a serve-forehand combination and Chardy netted a backhand on his second opportunity. Two holds later, a ‘breaker had to decide the outcome. The Argentine fought off one more match point at 4-6, but Chardy finally got the job done at 6-5 thanks to an overhead smash.
Miami’s Stadium crowd was treated to another tense three-setter during the night session. Amidst a lively atmosphere, Marcos Baghdatis recovered from a dismal opening set and from two breaks down in the third to overcome Santiago Giraldo 1-6, 6-2, 7-5 in one hour and 51 minutes. Giraldo served for the match at both 5-2 and 5-4, but the Colombian failed on both occasions and he ultimately lost six straight games to Baghdatis to seal his fate.
It was just Baghdatis’ fourth victory of the season. The struggling Cypriot will next go up against Philipp Kohlschreiber on Friday.
Giraldo was not the only Colombian action on Wednesday. Whereas not a single American man took the court (six are scheduled for Thursday on the other side of the draw), three Colombians contested their openers. Alejandro Falla lost to Marinko Matosevic 1-6, 6-4, 7-6(6) and Alejandro Gonzalez took care of Malek Jaziri 7-6(9), 6-1.
The Grandstand featured a pair of stellar individual performances. Red-hot and fast-rising Dominic Thiem powered past recent Irving Challenger champion Lukas Rosol 7-6(6), 6-4. The 20-year-old Austrian, who qualified for the main draw for his fifth successful tournament qualification already this season, won 86 percent of his first-serve points. At the other end of the career spectrum, 35-year-old Radek Stepanek donated fewer games than any other man in a 6-3, 6-0 rout of Daniel Brands. Stepanek required a mere 57 minutes to book a spot alongside Andreas Seppi in the round of 64.