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Tursunov vs. Dancevic II: The Reckoning

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I was compelled by nostalgia to shift my schedule around and make it out for a rematch of the 2007 final between Dmitry Tursunov and Frank Dancevic this afternoon.

That impossibly hot day of July '07, Tursunov handily beat Dancevic in straight sets; the Canadian had nothing left in the tank and was simply over-matched, having defeated Andy Roddick a day earlier in one of the great sports upsets I have ever witnessed live.

My affection toward Dancevic for humiliating Roddick was reinforced when Roddick threw a temper-tantrum and yelled at a reporter in the post-match press conference. One of my great memories as a journalist was seeing Roddick, on the verge of tears, slam his towel down and yell at a stocky, kind, mustached gentleman from the Indy Star for asking him what this loss meant for American tennis. Brilliant.

For the first time since 1990, five Americans have survived to the quarter final. The winner of Tursunov/Dancevic will hopefully face Sam Querrey tomorrow in the semi-finals - and I fully expect the winner of that match to win the final on Sunday.

Though if Querrey is able to win even one break point, it is unlikely that Dancevic or Tursunov would have the strength to deal with his serve, given their lackluster showing on the court this afternoon.

Seven games into the match, neither player had lost a break point, and both men seemed to be quite content resting comfortably along the baseline; the crowd did not see much fire. It's as if they had someplace else to be, but both of them came anyway, just because they thought the other one would be really mad at them for not showing up. The hardest working people on the court were the ball-kids.

Dmitry is still alive in the doubles draw as well, and may have spread himself too thin, fresh off of an ankle injury. He admitted to me on Tuesday that while it doesn't hurt very much, it is affecting his play as he is subconsciously "protecting it."

His first serve from the left side was consistently terrible, often soaring several feet wide of the alley. However, in the second set, after he fell behind-- Tursunov began to use more finesse, rather than overpowering him as he had been trying to-- and won a crucial breakpoint on a beautiful drop shot that spun back toward him with ferocity, and Dancevic flatly hit it into the net.

Tursunov then served out the next game in consecutive points, making it 5-5. The two then traded wins to send it to a tie-breaker, which Dancevic won 7-5, tying Dmitry at one set a piece, and sending the match into a third set, which an exhausted Dmitry Tursunov seemed to all but completely concede to the younger and fresher Canadian.

There were several forehands that Dancevic simply slapped past Tursunov, though he was seemingly within reach of them. Dmitry spent most of the final set shaking his head in frustration, only going after any balls that happened to fly within his arms' reach... like a venus fly trap.

In 180-degree turn from 2007, it was Dancevic who ultimately out-hustled Tursunov and came out on top. Frank now awaits the winner of Querrey and Gicquel, while Dmitry prepares for his doubles quarter-final...which he has 45 minutes to prepare for...barely able to stand up at the moment.

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