Marinko Matosevic relieved to end grand slam drought
After 12 straight first-round exits at grand slams, the Australian ended his run of losses with a 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 6-7 (1-7) 7-5 win over German Dustin Brown at the French Open on Tuesday.
The court five clay in Paris felt the relief not long after Matosevic.
The 28-year-old fell onto his back after Brown served a double fault on match point and rolled, and rolled, and rolled, from the baseline to the service line.
He proceeded to release several loud screams.
“Feel like there is a huge gorilla off your shoulders,” Matosevic said after the win.
On his celebration, he said: “I thought about it, but I was pretty spontaneous, really.
“Yeah, maybe a little bit over the top, but just huge relief.
“I got to 39 in the (rankings), so I’m like, ‘I’ve got to do it. I’m better than this’. With the early losses, like once it got to five, six, then two years, eight, then 12, three years, it’s tough.
“I always knew I was a better player than my grand slam results. I’m happy I could get the win.”
Matosevic’s first chance at a grand slam was via a wildcard at the 2010 Australian Open, losing in four sets to Switzerland’s Marco Chiudinelli.
At Melbourne Park in 2011, Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis brushed past him in straight sets, while Argentina’s Juan Ignacio Chela sent him packing at Wimbledon and the US Open in the same year.
Matosevic was handed his toughest draw yet at his home grand slam in 2012, well beaten by entertaining Frenchman Gael Monfils.
Belgian Xavier Malisse was the wrong unseeded player to draw on the grass at the All-England Club, while Matosevic coughed up a two-set lead to Marin Cilic at the US Open.
Cilic did it easily over him at the 2013 Australian Open to hand Matosevic loss number eight.
Matosevic was never going to beat David Ferrer at last year’s French Open but should have done better against Frenchman Guillaume Rufin at Wimbledon.
The revitalised Tommy Robredo was too good at Flushing Meadows in 2013 and Japan’s Kei Nishikori edged Matosevic in searing heat at the 2014 Australian Open.
But his moment finally came on Tuesday.
“It got pretty demoralising at some stages,” Matosevic said.
“I had some tough draws. When I did have my chances, I just couldn’t quite do it.
“I tried not to think about it and I kind of let it go after the Australian Open. Just tried to forget about it. It paid off a couple months later.”
Matosevic’s reward is a meeting with Brit Andy Murray, who overcame Kazakh Andrey Golubev in four sets but is always beatable on clay.
“He’s a good ball striker. He’s had some good wins on the tour,” Murray said of Matosevic.
“His results have maybe been a bit up and down but he can play good tennis. He’s a strong guy and yes, it’ll be tough.”
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