Top Seeds Tsonga, Berdych and Isner Star at Winston-Salem Open
2011 Winston-Salem Open champion John Isner survived in three sets against Slovakia's Martin Klizan.
2011 Winston-Salem Open champion John Isner survived in three sets against Slovakia's Martin Klizan.

Aug. 21, 2012

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By Currie McFayden, Wake Forest Media Relations (@SIDeacons)

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - The top four seeds, including No. 1 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, each claimed victories during Tuesday's action at the 2012 Winston-Salem Open. Not all seeded players had the same luck, though, as four of the top 16 players, including 2011 runner-up Julien Benneteau, were knocked out in the second round action.

Following is a recap of Tuesday's sessions at the Winston-Salem Open.

Isner Avoids Disaster, Defeats Klizan 4-6, 6-3, 7-5
Hometown favorite and 2011 Winston-Salem Open champion John Isner gave fans a scare late Tuesday afternoon on Center Court, dropping the first set to Martin Klizan before rebounding to take the match.

Klizan stole the 6'9" Greensboro native's first service game, putting Isner in a hole that he was unable to recover from in the first set. The world's No. 10 player did not come close to challenging the Slovak for the remainder of the set, as Klizan did not face a break point until midway through the second set.

After the challenging start, however, Isner came alive. Buoyed by cheers from the crowd, he won 22 of his 31 service points in the second set and wore Klizan down with his powerful forehand and surprisingly nimble footwork.

With the crowd almost fully behind him, Isner stormed into the third set with authority, trading service games with Klizan before finally breaking him to go up 6-5. With the opportunity to serve out the match, the No. 3 seed took full advantage with four straight points to seal the victory. Following the win, Isner is set to face 13th-seeded Jurgen Melzer in the third round.

Marathon Man: Kubot Outlasts Benneteau in Afternoon Thriller
Lukasz Kubot of Poland shocked 2011 Winston-Salem Open finalist Julien Benneteau in the first match of the day on Court 3 that was, by far, the longest contest of the tournament thus far. The three-set bout lasted two hours and 42 minutes and finished 2-6, 7-5, 6-3 in Kubot's favor.

After easily taking the first set, the eighth-seeded Benneteau was stymied by Kubot's play in the second. Kubot won just a single second-serve point in the first set, but dramatically improved that mark with 10 in the second set and 12 in the third, numbers which helped him take control of the match.

Benneteau joined 11th-seeded Denis Istomin (defeated 6-2, 6-2 by Steve Darcis) and 15th-seeded Pablo Andujar (lost 6-2, 6-3 to Sergiy Stakhovsky) as seeded players who fell during the afternoon session. Jurgen Melzer, the 13th seed, narrowly avoided an upset at the hands of Michael McClune by saving four match points in the third set to pull out a 6-2, 2-6, 7-6 (12-10) victory.

Roddick Autograph Session Draws Big Crowd
After wrapping up an early-afternoon practice session with fellow American Ryan Harrison, fifth-seeded Andy Roddick hosted an autograph session just outside Center Court. Despite the announcement being made just a few minutes prior to the event, a long line formed outside the tent almost immediately as many young fans clamored to see the former world No. 1.

Roddick greeted the fans with a quick "thank you" each time he received an item and took the time to pose for a few pictures as well. The impromptu session was part of a day off for Roddick after he defeated James Blake 7-6 (8-6), 7-6 (8-6) on Monday night. The five-time Grand Slam finalist will face Steve Darcis in the third round.

Qualifiers Still Making Noise
Even with Michael McClune and Benjamin Becker falling on Tuesday, the remaining qualifying duo of Ernests Gulbis and Sergiy Stakhovsky maintained their composure and pulled off significant upsets, knocking off 12th-seeded Kevin Anderson and 15th-seeded Pablo Andujar, respectively.

Gulbis wore down Kevin Anderson 6-4, 7-6 (7-2) in Court 2's late-afternoon matchup, serving up 11 aces and being broken just once on six attempts. The Latvian faces a favorable third-round match against sixth-seeded Marcel Granollers.

Stakhovsky posted a very similar result against Pablo Andujar, earning a 6-2, 6-3 win. The stat of the match was the Ukrainian's fantastic mark of winning 84 percent (16-of-19) of his first-serve points, while Andujar converted just 55 percent of his opportunities. Stakhovsky will now face No. 1 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the third round.

Tournament Goers "Relax Responsibly" at Corona Tennis Tailgate
Several hundred fans in attendance on Tuesday afternoon stopped by the Corona Tennis Tailgate, which featured a ping pong table, cornhole boards and free giveaways and was set just outside the entrance to the tournament grounds.

The Winston-Salem Open's mascot, Bo the Ball, also came by to play games with the fans. The tailgate bridged the day's afternoon and evening sessions, allowing the crowd to relax prior to the prime-time clash between Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Thomaz Bellucci.

 

 

 

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