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CountryWide Classic July 16 - 22, 2007 - Day 1

Coverage By Matt Osias


Querry/Fish put on a show; Safin barely hangs on

On the first night of the 81st annual Countrywide Classic tennis tournament, local boy Sam Querry and fellow American Mardy Fish put on quite the show, outlasting the duo of Alex Bogdanovic and Ross Hutchins 4-6, 7-5, 10-8.

Querry and Fish began the match looking a little shaky, but regrouped and made their move in the third game of the second set. Tied at 1-1, Querry charged the net and took a ball out of the air for a risky forehand winner. The very next point found Fish with an easy overhead slam at the net, leveling the game at 30-30. Following a 130mph ace, Querry approached the net and put a difficult ball away for a winner and the 2-1 lead.

Minutes later, with the score at 3-2, Querry and Fish found themselves with a break point opportunity. Perhaps feeling the momentum shifting, Bogdanovic double faulted away the game, giving the Americans the 4-2 advantage.

Just as it looked like it would comedown to a third set, Bogdanovic and Hutchins made things interesting, rallying to tie it at 5-5. But in the very next game with the score at 30-30, fans saw the point of the match. Querry and Fish were both at net when Bogdanovic successfully sent a lob to the back of the court. Unable to reach it, Fish tracked it down and managed to smack a between-the-legs lob that sailed over the approaching opponents, saving the point for a 6-5 lead.

Querry and Fish rallied in the next game to secure a break point chance at 30-40 before Fish precisely placed a backhand return of serve ace cross court, sending the match to a decisive third-set 10-point tiebreaker.

Querry and Fish jumped out to a quick 4-1 lead before Bogdanovic and Hutchins reeled off four straight points to go ahead 5-4. With the score tied at 9-8 in favor of the Americans, Fish sealed the deal smashing Hutchins service offering past Bogdanovic down the line for a winner and the match. In the next round Querry and Fish could face last years finalist, Eric Butorac and Jamie Murray.

In the late match, No. 3 seed Marat Safin fought off the Australian giant Chris Guccione in a 6-3, 6-7(4), 7-6(2) battle. Though Safin looked to be in for an early exit, losing his serve in the first game of the match and breaking a racquet mid-way through, the past No. 1 relied on his experience to vault himself into the second round.

Safin managed to save all seven break point chances he faced in the final set, before finishing Guccione in the tie-break after failing to convert with a match point at 5-4.

Safin will face qualifier George Bastl in the second round. Bastl took out Serbian Ilia Bozoljac 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-3

Matt Osias can be reached at mosias@californiatennis.com

Mardy Fish – USA Photo by Adam Davis


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