Friday, August 27, 2010

Buckeye Buchanan survives long first round match

It was a long match in the sense that it went three sets, but it seemed even longer because it took three days for Ohio State’s Chase Buchanan to defeat  Federico Del Bonis and become the lone surviving Big Ten player in the US Open Qualifying.

Eighteen year old Buchanan had no problem winning the first set, 6-3.  In fact, he continued the streak to 3-0 in the second.  The Argentinean wasn’t going down that easy, though, and he pushed up the level until the score was tied at 3-3.  Before the Buckeye knew it, he had lost six straight games and the set at 6-3.  It didn’t take long for Buchanan to get back in the game, picking up a break for a 4- 2 lead and getting ready to take it after a 5-2 score.  That was Tuesday, when the rain came and stopped the finish.

On Wednesday, Buchanan and Del Bonis were set to complete the match, but the rain once again came.  He finally got on the court at 3:15 on Thursday and, despite Federico Del Bonis holding serve for the first game, took the match with a 6-3 score in the third.  Chase Buchanan will play a second round match against Japan’s Tatsuma Ito on Friday.

Former Illini Rajeev Ram, part of the 2003 NCAA winning team and also a doubles titlist (with Brian Wilson) at that event, did not benefit from the rain delay.  After an incredible first set with Lukas Rosol that was probably the best tennis I’ve seen all week, he had trouble getting past the Czech.  Rosol didn’t look back after dropping the first in a breaker and instead turned up the power in the second.  He took it 6-2 and then broke for a 3-1 lead in the third.  The match was stalled at 5-1 in the third when it rained Wednesday evening, and finished off quickly by Rosol on Thursday.

Chase Buchanan is the only player with Big Ten ties left in the Qualifying, but former Illini Kevin Anderson received direct entry in the main draw.  I’m also anticipating (all entries have not yet been decided) seeing some Big Ten players in the doubles event, to definitely include Ram and former Vanderbilt player Bobby Reynolds.
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