Bumper schedule for ASB Classic after rain disruption

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 15 Jan 2020, 12:07PM

Bumper schedule for ASB Classic after rain disruption

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 15 Jan 2020, 12:07PM

Rain severely disrupted the ASB Classic on Tuesday, with only four matches completed across the day.

It was a frustrating period, with constant light showers interrupting the schedule, amidst typically unpredictable Auckland weather.

The only match of the night session, between American qualifier Michael Mmoh and Australian John Millman, didn't start until 10:40pm, after three previous attempts to dry the court, by the tireless gang of ball kids and volunteers.

All other scheduled matches were postponed until Wednesday, which has left a bumper day in prospect, especially on the outside courts.

There will be seven singles matches in all available for ground pass holder, plus five doubles clashes.

It will also mean that court five, which is mostly just utilised for practice sessions, will also be used on Wednesday for three doubles matches from 2:00pm.

"That's always the silver lining," said tournament director Budge. "You feel for the people that missed out [yesterday], but it's a pretty awesome opportunity for those that want to come out for $19 tomorrow, it's not too bad at all."

Centre court will feature the four top seeds, as well as Kiwis MIchael Venus and Artem Sitak in the doubles.

Tournament director Karl Budge was extremely proud of the efforts of their army volunteers on Tuesday.

"The fact that we got a match completed on centre court for the day session and the team worked unbelievably hard to get matches [last night]," said Budge. "I'm pretty proud, when you think they are all volunteers, what they have done today."

Budge hopes the three outstanding first round matches can be completed, before the second round encounters get underway.

"It's taken us a couple of hours to get something that we thought could work, and was fair and equitable for everyone."

Some players will have to play two singles matches on Wednesday, though Budge's intention is they all get close to equal rest between their time on court.

After the women's tournament was blissfully free of interruptions, yesterday's rain played havoc with the schedule.

The first match on centre court, between former Australian Open semi-finalist Kyle Edmund (Great Britain) and promising Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, scheduled for a midday start, was didn't get underway until nearly 4pm after intermittent showers.

The 25-year-old Edmund, who reached a career high of No 14 in October 2018 but has since slipped to No 69, dominated the first set.

He didn't face a single break point, losing only three points on serve, while Davidovich Fokina was constantly under pressure.

The Spanish wildcard, who was ranked outside the top 200 a year ago, rebounded strongly in the second set, and the 20-year-old showed great mental strength to serve out for the set after a another rain delay.

But the experience of Edmund counted in the final set.

He jumped out to a 3-0 lead, and was good enough to retain the advantage, sealing the contest on his third match point, 6-2 4-6 6-3 in 107 minutes, almost seven hours after he had first walked on court.

"You can easily just focus on the match and waste quite a lot of emotional energy," said Edmund. " "It's really hard to be completely on it for six hours waiting. I try to switch off and relax and the key is turning back on when you go back on the court."

Out on the grandstand court Canadian Vasik Pospisil dispatched 2017 Auckland finalist Joao Sousa 6-4 6-2 in 75 minutes.

World No 146 Pospisil had lost four of his five encounters with the Portuguese Sousa (No 58), but looked sharp after coming through two tough qualifying matches, dominant on serve and solid with his return game, setting up a fascinating clash with compatriot Denis Shapovalov on Wednesday.

A first round doubles clash was the other match completed on Tuesday.

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