By Palm Beach

marinko matosevic
Marinko Matosevic

DELRAY BEACH — Marinko Matosevic proved he can be a force on the tennis court three year ago when he fought his way as a qualifier to the finals of the Delray Beach International Tennis Championships.

He proved it again Tuesday evening when he upset second seed John Isner in their first round match at the same tournament, now named the Delray Beach Open by the Venetian Las Vegas, 6-4, 6-4. Earlier in the evening top-seed Kevin Anderson, a Gulfstream resident from the Republic of South Africa, cruised by John-Patrick Smith of Australia 6-3, 6-3.

"i didn't play well," Isner said. "I'm not good enough to not play well against these guys. I'm disappointed."

At times, Marinko sliced and diced his way through Isner. At times, Isner was his own toughest opponent. He essentially determined the outcome of the second set when he double-faulted twice in the first game and lost service. It was the only break of the set.

At other times, Isner seemed rally his game. Down 30-40 in the ninth game of the second set and the match on the line, Isner fired four consecutive aces. In the 10th game, however, Isner went quietly.

"I didn't do anything well," Isner said. "I had chances. I didn't do the right things out there.

"It's not for a lack of effort, his year. I've been practicing, doing the right things. It's just how it goes. It's not revealing itself now. It's all on me."

The other major story Tuesday at the Delray Beach Tennis Center involved two teenagers moving up from the junior ranks to play against men.

Stefan Kozlov didn't get his first ATP World Tour main draw victory Tuesday, but Andrey Rublev did. Kozlove, a 17-year-old from Pembroke Pines lost to fellow American Tim Smyczek 7-5, 6-2. Rublev, another 17-year-old, beat Dudi Sela of Israel 6-4, 1-6, 6-4. Rublev, the No. 1 ranked junior player in the world in 2014, will play American Steve Johnson, the tournament's 7th seed at 6 p.m. on the stadium court.

Both Kozlov and Rublev, a Russian, received wild card entries into the Delray tournament. They were among four teenagers who competed in the main draw, two of whom got there through the qualifying rounds. It's the first time since Brisbane in 2012 when four teens made it into a 32-draw tournament.

American Sam Querrey said the pressure on young players can mount if they don't break through quickly with a victory.

"It's tough. But once you get get that first win, it's a good feeling," Querrey said. "It's great for Rublev, who got his today. Hopefully, Kozlov will get it next week."

The other teens in the tournament: Thanasi Kokkinakis of Australia, 18 years, 10 months, and Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan, 19 years four months. Both won their matches Tuesday.

To put things in perspective, both Kozlov and Rublev are less than half the age of the tournament's oldest player, fourth-seeded Ivo Karlovic of Croatia, who turns 36 on Feb. 28. Karlovic is as old as some of the players who participated in the Champions Tour competition at Delray.

In other action Tuesday, Donald Young of the U.S. bet Ivan Dodig of Croatia 7-5, 7-5. Alejandro Gonzalez of Colombia won his match aginst 6-seed Querrey 3-6, 2-1, when injury forced Querrey to retire. Young and Gonzalez will face each other in the second round.

Wednesday marks the first appearance of Bob and Mike Bryan, the world's top-rated doubles team. Wednesday's schedule for the stadium court:

— 11 a.m. American Denis Kudla vs. Adrian Mannarino of France, the tournament's fifth seed.

— Not Before 12:30 p.m. Ivo Karlovic of Croatia, the fourth seed, vs. qualifer Kokkinakis of Australia.

— Not Before 2:30 Bob and Mike Bryan, the top seed, vs. Dustin Brown of Germany and Mannarino.

— 6 p.m. Rublev vs. Johnson.

— Not Before 8 p.m. Anderson vs. Yen-Hsun Lu of Taiwan..


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FEBRUARY 17, 2015 click to go home
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Matosevic upsets Isner at Delray; Anderson cruises
isner and matosevic
THE END IS NIGH ... Marinko Matosevic of Australia serves to American John Isner during the final game of the match. Matosevic upset Isner, the tournament's second seed.
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