By Palm Beach

DELRAY BEACH —The margin of victory or defeat sometimes can be measured in inches — or less. It was that way Thursday for Victor Troicki and Bernard Tomic of Australia during their second round match at the Delray Beach Open by the Venetian.

Serving, and down 30-40 in what proved to be the last rally of the last game of the match, Troicki played Tomic shot for shot. Twice Tomic drove the ball Troicki's right. Twice Troicki easily returned. Tomic then hit the ball to the left corner; Troicki got there in plenty of time for what looked like an easy opportunity to pass Tomic down the line.

Instead, Troicki's shot struck the tape along the top of the net, spun straight up, then fell straight down — on his side of the court. Game, set and match, Tomic, 6-3, 6-7(2), 6-4. An inch or so higher, a little different spin, and things might have gone Troicki's way.

Despite the loss, Troicka is far from finished at Delray. Tomic and Troicka happen to be doubles partners, and will play in the semifinals on Saturday.

The match was played on what was forcast to be the coldest day of the year so far. Temperatures at the start of the match, played at the Delray Beach Tennis Center, were in the low 50s; by the end they had dropped into the mid-40s. Unlike the afternoon, winds were calm, however, sparing both players and spectators.

Tomic will play qualifier Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan Friday afternoon at 2:30 in the quarterfinals of the Delray Beach Open by the Venetian Las Vegas. Nishioka, at 19 years, four months, is the youngest player in the tournament. He is the last of four teenagers who made it to the tournament's main draw either as wild card entrants or as Niskioka did, by earning spots through the qualifying tournament.

Nishioka beat Australian Marinko Matosevic 6-1, 6-3 earlier Thursday night to become the ninth teen to make the the quarterfinals of the Delray tournament. Coincidentally, the last player to do so was Kei Nishikori, also of Japan in 2008. Matosevic beat second-seed John Isner Tuesday. Nishioka won his first ATP World Tour match on Tuesday.

Also Thursday, three-seed Alexandr Dolgopolov of the Ukraine beat Tim Smyczek of the U.S. 6-2. 6-4; American Donald Young beat Alejandro. Gonzalez of Colombia 6-3, 6-2. In doubles play, No. 2 seed Raven Klaasen of the Republic of South Africa and Leander Paes of India defeated Treat Huey of the Philippines and American Scott Lipsky 6-3, 6-4; Americans Eric Butorac and Rajeev Ram beat No. 3 seed Ivan Dodig of Croatia and Max Mirnyi of Bulgaria in a third-set tiebreaker, 6-4, 5-7 (10-4).

Friday's Order of Play:

— 11 a.m. Young vs Dolgopolov.

— Not Before 12:30 p.m. top-seed Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan of the U.S vs John-Patrick Smith of Australia and Michael Venus of New Zealand.

— Not Before 2:30 p.m. Tomic vs Nishioka.

— 6 p.m. Yen-Hsun Lu of Chinese Tapei vs five seed Adrian Mannarino of France.

— Not Before 8 p.m. four-seed Ivo Karlovic of Croatia vs. seven-seed Steve Johnson of the U.S.

All matches are to be played on the stadium court.


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FEBRUARY 19, 2015 click to go home
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Tomic advances over Troicki at Delray Beach tennis open
viktor troicki
Keeping His Eyes on the Ball ... Viktor Troicki of Serbia reaches for his backhand in his second round match with Bernard Tomic of Australia. Troicki lost the match.
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