Miami, FL Ricky Dimon
Jarkko Nieminen staged the comeback of the tournament thus far when he stunned David Nalbandian 2-6, 6-4, 6-3 in round one of the Sony Open Tennis event on Thursday afternoon. Niemined trailed by a set and two breaks at 3-0 in the second before a miracle recovery paced him to a win in one hour and 49 minutes.
The 31-year-old Finn appeared to be on his way out of Miami when he double-faulted on break point already trailing 2-0 in set two. Nalbandian even had a game point on serve at 3-0, 40-30, but the turnaround began when his opponent managed to get one of the breaks back. From there Nieminen could do no wrong, surging through the second and using an early break in the third to clinch victory.
Next up for Nieminen is fellow left-hander and No. 27 seed Martin Klizan. An even more intriguing second-round machup will pit world No. 3 Andy Murray against Bernard Tomic. The 20-year-old Aussie booked his spot in that showdown by dismissing 35-year-old qualifier Marc Gicquel 7-5, 7-6(3). Tomic twice fought back from a break down in the first set before both players held serve throughout the second. Gicquel also had a 2-0 lead in the ensuing tiebreaker, but Tomic won seven of the match’s final eight points.
“I haven’t seen him play that much outside of Australia,” Murray said of Tomic. “But he’s a very, very talented player. He makes it tough for everyone. He’s got a very unorthodox game style.”
A style of play that did not work on Thursday evening was singles players on a doubles court. Top two Americans Sam Querrey and John Isner went down 6-4, 6-3 to Dominic Inglot and Indian Wells doubles runner-up Treat Huey. Inglot and Huey, former teammates at the University of Virginia, held all nine of their service games without facing a break point to advance in a mere 57 minutes.
Up first for Isner in singles will be Ivan Dodig, who overcame Lukas Lacko 4-6, 6-0, 6-4. Additional three-setters on Thursday saw David Goffin oust Robin Haase and Simone Bolelli defeat Jesse Levine. Bolelli trailed by a break in the third and saved a match point on Levine’s serve at 5-4 before triumphing 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(4).
Ricky Dimon is a contributor in Miami and writes for TennisTalk.com. You can follow him on Twitter under @RD_Tennistalk by clicking here.