Groth Tops Bozoljac in Nottingham Grass-Court Duel

by John on June 10, 2014

S Groth

When the draw for the Nottingham-2 Challenger was posted on Sunday, there was at least one first-round matchup that portended to be all about the serve. Top Gun of Fast Serve Australian Sam Groth versus big-boomer Ilija Bozoljac of Serbia, and on the fast lawns of Nottingham yet. Groth with a clocked best serve of 163 mph and Bozoljac once topping out at 142 mph didn’t figure to engage in any lengthy rallies. And they didn’t. The fifth seeded Groth, ranked No. 136, prevailed 7-6 (2), 7-6 (6) today in one hour and 37 minutes. There were no breaks of serve and just one break point in the match, which Groth saved. Groth had 21 aces and Bozoljac 14. Serve-and-volley, bang-bang grass-court tennis. It was just Thursday that Groth, partnered with Andrey Golubev, was playing on the slow red clay at Roland Garros in the men’s doubles semifinals. The unseeded duo had never played doubles together before until the fortnight. Though they lost to the eventual champions, Julien Benneteau and Edouard Roger-Vasselin, their tournament was a huge success. Transitioning to an entirely different surface in England seemed inconsequential to Groth. Grass should really be his best surface anyway. Bozoljac, ranked No. 193 in the world, has some doubles notoriety too. Last year he and Nenad Zemonjic upset doubles specialists extraordonaire Bob and Mike Bryan in Serbia’s win over the United States in the Davis Cup quarterfinals. Sports Illustrated described the performance as “Bozo goes Beast Mode…there was Bozoljac playing out of his mind in a five-set win that left everyone shaking their heads.” Tennis players certainly live for their moments. Bozoljac, 28-years old, reached a career-high No. 101 ranking in January of 2007. Today, Groth played the big points just a little bit better than the Serb. He won 91 percent of the points on his first serve, to 81 percent for Bozoljac. Overall, the big Aussie won seven more points than his opponent, 77-70. Groth plays Michael Venus of New Zealand in the next round.

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