Matosevic to battle tough draw
Luckless Marinko Matosevic faces another tough challenge as he attempts to secure an elusive first Grand Slam match win at the US Open on Monday.
Luckless Marinko Matosevic faces another tough challenge as he attempts to secure an elusive first Grand Slam match win in the opening round of the US Open on Monday (Tuesday AEST).
Matosevic has been on the rise since appointing doubles great Mark Woodforde as his coach last month, but he’ll need to come out all guns blazing against Spanish 19th seed Tommy Robredo.
Australia’s world No.56 is searching for a way to break his Grand Slam duck after 10 successive first-round defeats at the majors.
But he can take heart from a giant-killing spree in the weeks since linking with Woodforde.
After a poor start to the US hardcourt season, Matosevic has made North America a happy hunting ground with a career-best quarterfinal run at the Montreal Masters, where it took Rafael Nadal to halt his charge.
He also reached the last eight in Washington DC and the 28-year-old’s eight wins from his past 10 matches feature successes over a string of higher-ranked players including world No.10 Milos Raonic and former top-10 stars Tommy Haas, Fernando Verdasco and Nikolay Davydenko.
Matosevic had not won successive matches since May – after reaching a career-high 39th in the rankings in February – before calling on Woodforde, who has provided a sympathetic ear as much as on-court tactics to help put his new charge back on track.
“It saved me in a lot of ways,” Matosevic said of his new coaching arrangement.
“(I was dealing with) just off-court personal stuff. It’s finished but it’s still tough. People don’t realise that outside the sport, we’re human.”
Despite his upward shift in fortunes, like fellow Australian Lleyton Hewitt, unseeded Matosevic has often suffered from a rough draw at the majors.
He fell to former Australian Open semifinalist Marin Cilic in five sets in the opening round at Flushing Meadows last year and again to the Croatian at Melbourne Park in January.
He copped eventual runner-up David Ferrer in the first round of this year’s French Open and has run into top-20 rivals at two other Grand Slams.
On paper, Robredo has to be the favourite with a jump in the rankings from 115th to 22nd this year after a quarterfinal appearance at Roland Garros.