Smith’s ag­gres­sive play falls short of spot in fi­nal

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT -

AUS­TRALIAN John- Pa­trick Smith’s run at the Hall of Fame Ten­nis tour­na­ment in New­port has come to an end with a 6- 4 7- 6 semi- fi­nal loss to Amer­i­can Ra­jeev Ram.

Ram said Smith, a sur­prise semi- fi­nal­ist, made things tough for him dur­ing their match.

“It was tough to­day,” Ram said. “The wind was re­ally swirly. I had a lot of trou­ble with my serve at the start, but I did ev­ery­thing else well.”

Ram nabbed the first set with a break in the third game.

In the open­ing game of the sec­ond set he surged back from a 40- love deficit on Smith’s serve to break the Aussie, only to drop his serve in the next.

Although Smith’s ag­gres­sive play at the net kept Ram un­der pres­sure, the Amer­i­can was able to pull out the tiebreaker and book a re­turn to the fi­nal.

“J. P. did a re­ally good job rush­ing the net and forc­ing me to pass him,” Ram said.

“For­tu­nately I was pretty locked in to­day.”

Ram will meet big- serv­ing Croa­t­ian Ivo Karlovic in the fi­nal, af­ter Karlovic de­feated Jack Sock 7- 6 6- 4.

Karlovic, who has bat­tled pain in his right arm, shook off a slow start that saw him bro­ken at love by his Amer­i­can foe in his sec­ond ser­vice game.

He quickly re­gained the break and took con­trol, fin­ish­ing with 14 aces in the one- hour, 23- minute match.

Karlovic, who fell to Lley­ton He­witt in last year’s fi­nal, kept Sock un­der pres­sure through­out the sec­ond set, the Amer­i­can sav­ing one match point in the 10th game with a sting­ing fore­hand be­fore net­ting a fore­hand two points later to sur­ren­der the con­test.

“Ra­jeev will be tough to play against in the fi­nal,” Karlovic said.

“He hits a very good volley and it’s hard to pass on this court.”

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