Blake Strode ousts Catalin-Ionut Gard to reach the main draw – Tallahassee Tennis Challenger 2012 CH
Qualifying fifth seed, Blake Strode, trounced the Romanian contestant, Catalin-Ionut Gard, in straight sets in the qualifying competition of the Tallahassee Tennis Challenger 2012 on Sunday. He formulated a 6-2, 7-5 score line against the Romanian veteran
to enter the main draw of this ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) Challenger Tour event held in Tallahassee, Florida.
The local star showed tremendous skills to overrun Gard in an hour and 44-minute venture. As a result, the highly enthusiastic strode advanced into the main draw at this event.
Strode assertively entered the Forestmeadows Tennis Complex and held his serve in the opening game to take the initial lead. After Gard kept his serve in the fourth game, the American unleashed his true forma and wiped out the last four games successively,
ultimately registering a 6-2 score line.
Ranked 389th in the South African Airways ATP World Tour Rankings, Strode kept momentum running into the follow-up set and after earning the coveted break early on, he leaped to a 2-0 lead. He lost his edge in the very next game but broke Gard’s
serve again to go 3-1 up. Regardless of losing his serve in the fifth game, the American stayed calm and capitalised on another break opportunity in the last game to seal the set by winning seven games to five.
Overall, Strode clobbered a lower first serve share of 54 per cent as opposed to the Romanian’s 63 per cent but brilliantly availed 31 out of 42 points on it. He spilled five double faults but outshined his rival by converting five out of 10 break opportunities
to his advantage.
Strode will square off against his wild card compatriot, Brian Baker, in the opening round of this event.
John Peers of Australian will accompany Strode in the main draw. The world number 537 fired 11 aces and joggled up a better first serve share to seal the deal with a 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 success.
The 23-year-old Aussie failed to defend both breakpoints he faced in the second set and gifted away the equaliser. However, Peers cashed in both break chances in the final set to pull out the victory in two hours and three minutes.