Melzer Ends Raonic Run at Memphis

by John on February 26, 2012

World No. 38 Jurgen Melzer of Austria defeated red-hot Milos Rionic 7-5, 7-6 (4) Sunday afternoon in the final of the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships in Memphis, Tenn. Melzer, ranked as high as No. 8 in the world last year, had knocked out top-seeded John Isner and No. 3-seeded Radek Stepanek enroute to the championship match. The Austrian lefthander became the first 30-year old to win the Memphis crown since Ivan Lendl in 1991, while capturing his fourth career ATP title. Melzer also won at Vienna in 2009-10 and Bucharest in 2006. Raonic, ranked No. 24, had a nine match winning streak and a 15-1 record on the year coming into the final, with wins at Chennai (January) and San Jose (last week). His two titles are tops on the ATP Tour in 2012. The big-serving Raonic lost last year’s Memphis final to Andy Roddick. Raonic, seeded No. 4, held serve with ease until the 11th game of the first set, when Melzer proceeded to give the Canadian a different look on his return. The Austrian stood almost to the backstop and moved from side to side while awaiting the 6-foot-5 Raonic’s rocket-like serves. Melzer’s tactic worked as he got the crucial break, and then served it out to take the opening set. Raonic had won 19 straight sets since losing to Lleyton Hewitt in the third round of the Australian Open. With the urgency of the situation apparent, Raonic dug in and raced to a 4-1 lead in the second set. It didn’t last long, though, as the Canadian gave back the break he got in the fourth game by dropping serve in the seventh. Service prevailed the rest of the way to force a tiebreaker, which Melzer won without drama. “Of course it’s a relief to win a tournament, especially a 500; I haven’t won one before,” Melzer said. “After a tough season last year, it’s obviously something nice. I played a really good match today, I kept my head in the game. I knew it was tough. He’s probably the best server on tour at the moment. Sometimes you just walk left to right without doing anything, but I felt like when the ball was in play and when I had my chances, I played really solid.” Raonic had 22 aces to nine for Melzer. The Austrian won two of his three break-point opportunities to just one of five for Raonic. “He neutralized my serve better than anybody else the last two weeks,” Raonic said.

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