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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Sajous, Domijan, Berankis and Ignatic Take Down Seeds to Advance to Quarterfinals at N. Miami Beach Futures

©Colette Lewis 2008--
N. Miami Beach FL--

Florida Atlantic University sophomore Olivier Sajous defeated No. 8 seed Gastao Elias of Portugal 2-6, 6-1, 6-2 to advance to Friday's quarterfinals of the Extreme Tennis Academy Futures at the Michael-Ann Russell Tennis Center. Sajous, a wild card, handled the gusty winds by using more topspin and once Elias began to miss, Sajous, ranked 56th in the current ITA rankings, went in the other direction. He made fewer and fewer errors, leaving Elias no openings.

Elias was far from the only seed to fall on Thursday, as No. 2 seed Nikita Kryvonos of the U.S. lost a grueling three setter to former Wake Forest star Todd Paul 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(5). Vlad Ignatic of Belarus, the No. 2 ranked junior, took out top seed Adriane Biasella of Italy 6-4, 6-7(4), 6-3 in another hard-fought contest that took over two hours to complete. Seventeen-year-old Ricardas Berankis of Lithuania needed only two sets to oust No. 5 seed Clement Morel of France 6-4, 6-4, but games were long and draining in the 80-degree temperatures. Berankis will face occasional practice partner Alex Domijan, who followed his first pro level win on Wednesday with an upset of No. 4 seed Vincent Millot of France 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-3.

Domijan served for the match twice in the second set, and in the tiebreaker came back from 4-0 down to win five of the next six points, but Millot received a couple of unforced errors when he needed them to force a third set. Undeterred by his inability to close it out in two, Domijan continued to assert himself from the baseline and with his serve, frustrating the 21-year-old Millot to the point of racquet tossing and smashing by the match's end.

"I thought I played well for two thirds of it," said Domijan, who trains at Saddlebrook, indicating his displeasure with the end of the second set. "I waited for him to miss too much. But I didn't want to lose, didn't want to go home, so I kept on playing."

Getting accustomed to the strong south breezes took some time, and Domijan wasn't entirely happy with the way he handled the conditions.

"I probably should have gone for a little bit more on this side (into the wind)," Domijan said. "On the other side you could attack the short balls better, because the wind gave you more short balls."

Domijan approached the net often and it paid off, as Millot began to rush his passing shots, putting many in the net rather than past the 6-foot-6 Domijan. Millot began to return Domijan's serve more consistently, but the short and stocky Frenchman couldn't find a strategy to produce winners against his younger opponent.

Next up for Domijan is Berankis, who defeated him in the second round at the U.S. Open Juniors last September.

"I thought I was playing well then, but I didn't give myself a chance in that match," said Domijan. "I've played him a bunch of times in practice, but none of them have gone so well. He was (in Saddlebrook) before the first Futures, and he destroyed me again. Hopefully I can go out tomorrow and hit the shots."

For complete results, visit the usta.com Pro Circuit page. Results of the $25,000 Women's event in Arizona can also be found there. Sixteen-year-old qualifier Allie Will of Boca Raton has reached the quarterfinals.