By Randolph Carroll/BB&T Atlanta Open
Ivan Dodig’s third-seed ranking proved itself as he downed Ricardas Berankis 6-1, 7-6, 6-3 Wednesday at the BB&T Atlanta Open. While the match became a three-setter, Dodig was in solid control throughout, as allowed just a single break to his opponent in the second-round match.
Playing on the AJC Grandstand, Dodig cruised through the first set, winning the first five games and all but emotionally crushing Berankis. When he finally took a game from the first set, Berankis showed little excitement and seemed apathetic as he fell behind. It didn’t take long for Dodig to hold a one-set lead.
The second set began with new life for Berankis, energized by winning the first game of the second set. Dodig responded appropriately and aced Berankis three times to quickly tie the second set 1-1. These aces came quickly, swiftly and often, winning Dodig several games and strongly contributing to his success.
"I know that my serve is something that is important in my game and if it is working well it’s going to help me a lot" said Dodig.
Berankis brought the game to deuce on three consecutive Dodig serves. However, Dodig was able to hit his way out of them, acing his opponent each time. Despite Dodig’s serve and Berankis’ newfound excitement, neither player managed to break a serve and swapped games until they forced a tiebreak. Dodig’s power serving backfired and resulted in a double fault that cost him the set.
The third set quickly but briefly resembled the second set as each player swapped their first serve of the set to tie 1-1. Behind another ace, Dodig went up 2-1 and for the first time since the first set for either player, he broke Berankis to move take a 3-1 lead.
"For me it was very important after losing the second set. I used the moment of his couple mistakes" said Dodig.
Again, Dodig’s serve became a game changer when he aced Berankis to go up 5-2. After lackadaisically dropping the next game, he managed a soft dropshot to win the set and claim the match, providing an ironic finish to a match so dominated by Dodig’s hard hitting serve.
Dodig made it to the fourth round of the Wimbledon singles, losing to David Ferrer. He also reached the doubles finals of that Grand Slam, losing to Olympic Gold Medalists Bob and Mike Bryan. Dodig will now face Lleyton Hewitt in the BB&T Atlanta Open semifinals. Hewitt just came off of a victory against American wild card Rhyne Williams. These two have played just once before, also on hardcourt, in the 2012 Valencia tournament. Dodig came out on top winning in another dominating fashion 6-1, 6-3, 6-2.