L.A. Tennis Open Day 3 Roundup

Carsten Ball vs. Dmitry Tursunov
Ball impressed me again in his second match I’ve witnessed of him in person. His backhand time and time again punished Tursunov, and Dmitry could only welter in the scorching sun. Tursunov tapped out early in the second set retiring even though he would come back and play doubles later that day. This type of behavior is insulting to a fan who paid money to watch him play. How dare he “retire” with an injury and win a doubles match later on in the day. It’s insulting to fans, the integrity of the game, and especially Carsten Ball who pummeled him into submission and deserved better. With the whole rant on Tursunov aside, Ball is really playing well, and may be the favorite in his next match against John Isner. He hits cleaner ground strokes and volleys than the American, so that may indeed equal a first career semifinal appearance for the Aussie.

John Isner vs. Marcos Baghdatis
Isner beat Baghdatis in painful fashion. He took a major fall in the second set tiebreaker, and stayed down for the count Baghdatis rushed to his aide, putting a towel under his leg and showing real concern for the 6″9 American. After a good seven minute delay, Isner would come back and take the final three points of the tiebreaker against a rather complacent Baghdatis. Baghdatis clearly checked out of the match mentally when he saw his opponent withering in pain. Baghdatis showed his first display of anger I’ve ever seen of him after the match throwing his racket and kicking the mph tracker in the stadium. I have to say, although I was obviously rooting for the American, I felt genuinely bad for the Cypriot since Isner played dead for literally seven minutes and should have told Baghdatis he had no plans on retiring from the match. This would have allowed Baghdatis to stay focused as opposed to worrying for his opponent’s well being.

Marat Safin vs. Ernests Gulbis
The last match of the day saw it’s fair share of choking. Ernests Gulbis jumped out to an easy one-set lead on Safin. Things were looking great. He was clicking on all cylinders. He got up a break in the second set… and then… it happened. Gulbis showed the reason as to why he still is ranked #62. He has all the tools except for maybe the most important, the mental. Every time he gets up, he loses his killer instinct and allows the struggling opponent back into the match. The veteran Safin pounced on the opportunity and took the final four games of the second set. It’s tied now, so once again, Gulbis plays well and goes up a break in the third. Unfortunately for Gulbis, the third set was a repeat of the second, showing Gulbis give the set back to Safin again. The one thing Safin did better towards the end of the second set and in the third set was hitting more balls in and allowing Gulbis to press. Gulbis, I’m calling you out right now! You have too much talent to be 62!

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