Reid reaches AO Play-off final
New South Welshmen Matt Reid has upset second seed John-Patrick Smith to reach the final of the Australian Open 2013 Play-off, writes Natalie Yoannidis.
New South Welshmen Matt Reid has upset second seed John-Patrick Smith to reach the final of the Australian Open 2013 Play-off.
Reid managed to put a poor recent head-to-head record against Smith behind him to claim a four set victory 6-4 6-3 4-6 6-3.
The 22-year-old said he was thrilled to finally get a win over Smith.
“Really happy, it was great to get a win over him [Smith] finally after losing two times in a row to him,” he said.
“After I lost the third set I didn’t get too negative on myself which in the past has been a bit of a problem for me so I was just happy to stay calm and give myself the chance to win the fourth set.”
The rain stayed away and the pair matched up on the outdoor courts of Melbourne Park in sunshine after play was washed out yesterday.
The stage was set for the match to be a marathon encounter as both players served solidly and sought to favour their forehands early.
With scores locked at 3-3 Reid drew first blood breaking Smith on his way to posting a 6-4 win in the first set.
Smith had the opportunity to extend the first set after earning two break points on the Reid serve with scores at 5-4, but eventually after needing five set points, Reid closed out the opener.
The second set started in a similar fashion with the players engaged in long and laborious rallies trying to attack their opponent’s backhand side.
Smith appeared in control after gaining a break point in the fifth game but was unable to capitalise.
Instead Reid took control of play, forcing the error off the Smith racquet with pace and accuracy on his way to a 5-3 lead in the second set before a Smith double fault handed the third seed the second stanza.
After being shell-shocked in the first two sets, Smith regained his composure in the swirling wind to claim the third set 6-4.
The No.2 seed sought to slow down the pace of the match, taking the speed off the ball and forcing Reid to create his own power. The tactic was successful as Smith managed to find the break to take a 4-2 advantage.
With the pace taken out of the match, fewer winners were recorded but Smith remained patient to claim the third set and keep himself firmly in the running for an Australian Open wildcard.
But it was Reid who maintained control from the onset of the fourth set, breaking the second seed in just the second game before surging to a 4-1 lead.
Smith’s backhand continued to give him trouble as he struggled to generate any power from that side of his body.
Eventually the serve and power of Reid was too strong and he closed out the match with an emphatic ace, sending a warning to his next opponent.
Ahead of his final battle against Benjamin Mitchell, who overcame Matthew Barton in five thrilling sets, Reid said he was looking forward to facing off against the Queenslander tomorrow for an Australian Open wildcard.
“I’m playing one of my friends, I’m actually wearing his clothes!”
“It would be a good end of the year and give me some opportunities at the start of next year.”