Norodom, top seeds advance in Optus 12s Australian Championships
Top seeds in both the boys' and girls' draws of the Optus 12s Australian Championships cruise past their second round robin matches at Melbourne Park Tuesday
Fourth seed Stefan Norodom triumphed in an intense three-set marathon against 16th-seeded Joshua Spaull 7-5 2-6 6-3 in the Optus 12s Australian Championships today.
The two hour and 16 minute battle was one of the longest played in the second round robin group matches this morning, showcasing a determined Norodom claw back control of the match in the deciding set to seal victory.
Following a close-fought opening set in which he lost 5-7, Victorian Spaull took control in the second , capitalising on an array of Norodom unforced errors who had trouble with his serve.
Spaull was very vocal throughout the match, critiquing poor decisions and yelling “Come on man, don’t rush it!” while serving for the second set after he sent an easy forehand volley long.
The boys upped their games at the start of the deciding set, playing more aggressive groundstrokes and producing far more winners than errors. Norodom managed the early break on Spaull’s first service game and then held to lead 2-0.
South Australia’s Norodom broke Spaull again in the seventh game of the set to lead 5-2 and by that stage was high on confidence and in full control. He started to produce superb groundstroke winners and came to the net more often, volleying to end points quickly. Spaull became increasingly frustrated as errors began to fly from his racquet.
Norodom became nervous while serving for the match, squandering three match point opportunities to gift one of his breaks back to Spaull to make it 5-3.
Norodom then regrouped in the next game, creating three more match point opportunities while playing a superb return game. Spaull managed to save two of them from his serve, but then sent his ball long after an extra long rally delivering Norodom the victory.
After the match, Norodom said he was relieved to get through the epic battle and explained what happened in the second set.
“I got pretty tired and I felt nervous when he (Spaull) won the second set,” Norodom said. “I think I tried to play too attacking and I missed a lot of balls and I got too mad.”
Norodom will take on Rocco Taplin this afternoon to decide who sits on top of Group C and progresses through to the quarterfinal knockout stage of the competition.
Elsewhere in the boys’ competition this morning, No.1 seed Macsen Sisam disposed of Mark Papadopoulos confidently 6-2 6-0 and No.2 seed Finn Reynolds accounted for his opponent Matthew Dellavedova 6-4 6-2.
Third seed Alexander Crnokrak and sixth seed Nikita Volonski easily got past their opponents in straight sets, Stefan Gligorov and Liam Stoica respectively.
In the girls’ draw, fourth-seeded Queenslander Olivia Gadecki was too strong for her 13th-seeded opponent Alessia Roso, defeating her 6-3 6-1 in one hour and 41 minutes on Court 5.
“It felt great,” Gadecki said following the win which saw her use her strong forehand and aggressive playing style to her advantage.
Gadecki, who admires the playing styles of Sharapova, Azarenka and Federer, said for her next match she can “maybe work on my first serve percentage and my returns.”
No.1 seed Jeanette Lin had little trouble defeating her opponent Sanyukta Singh 6-0 6-1 on Court 6 this morning, whereas second seed Daniela Kovacevic experienced a slightly more challenging match than yesterday, overcoming Jovana Glusac 6-4 6-2 in just under two hours.
The final round robin group matches take place this afternoon, and the winners of each group progress through to the quarterfinal knockout draw tomorrow.