Struff Topples Olivetti at Roland Garros

by John on May 27, 2014

J Struff

It was a day of big expectations for Albano Olivetti. The monster-serving Frenchman was playing in the main draw of the French Open for the first time. As the holder of the record for second fastest recorded serve, the 22-year old always draws a coterie of the curious, but in Paris, as the homeboy, he drew quite a crowd out on Court 2. However it was all for naught as German Jan-Lennard Struff bounced La Ol, as he’s called by his band of followers, 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 Tuesday afternoon at Roland Garros. Over and done in one hour and 41 minutes. The No. 62-ranked Struff had too much game for the 6-foot- 8 Frenchman, whose rocket serve and powerful ground strokes, blunted some by the slow red clay, weren’t enough to challenge the German’s consistency. Struff, who ended 2013 at No. 107 in the world, has had quite a year so far. He’s won a Challenger tournament and was a finalist at another, and has reached the semifinals of two ATP Tour events. At 6-foot-5, Struff has a big serve too, but not anywhere near the 160-mph rocket Olivetti clocked at Bergamo in 2012. Perhaps overwhelmed by the occasion and the venue, Olivetti, ranked a career high No. 162, was not his usual self in the opening set. He did hold serve to level at 1-1, but squandered three break points in the next game and the funk started. Olivetti dropped serve in the fourth and sixth games and the set was over in 24 minutes. With Struff staying steady and Olivetti regaining his mojo, the second set proceeded on serve through eight games. Struff broke in the ninth game and served it out to go up two sets to love. The third set was almost a carbon copy of the second, only Struff broke in the fifth game. The German served an ace on his first match point. You had the feeling Olivetti might force tiebreakers in the final two sets, but he just couldn’t pull the trigger when he needed to. Poor shot selection and some ill-advised drop shots in critical junctures led to his downfall. Make no mistake, Struff was the better player, as his ranking might attest. The German plays No. 23 seed Gael Monfils in the next round, and based on form, an upset wouldn’t surprise me. Olivetti served 14 aces to 8 for Struff, and had six double faults to just one for the German. Struff edged Olivetti in winners, 28-26, and had just nine unforced errors to 37 for the Frenchman. Olivetti remains a work in progress. But with his youth. huge serve, athleticism and size, he has tremendous upside.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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