Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Martin Can't Escape Another Five-Setter Vincente's Win Extends Slump

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Martin Can't Escape Another Five-Setter Vincente's Win Extends Slump

Article excerpt

Todd Martin said after having to rally to win his first match at the Australian Open in five sets that he couldn't afford to keep putting himself in these marathon situations early in the tournament. Late Tuesday night, his self-fulfilling prophecy came true.

Martin, the No. 8 seed, was pushed to another five-setter by unseeded Fernando Vicente and this time it proved costly. The Ponte Vedra Beach resident let a 5-2 lead slip away in the deciding set, eventually bowing out of the Grand Slam event as Vicente rallied for a 6-4, 2-6, 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 upset victory.

It marked the second time in three years that Martin, the 1994 runner-up to Pete Sampras, exited the Australian Open in the second round and continued a recent trend of five-setters at Grand Slam events. In his last four major appearances, Martin has been involved in eight five-set matches and won six, losing his other one in the U.S. Open final to Andre Agassi.

"You know when the other guy starts playing better than you, it usually gets away and that's what happened from about 3-all in the fourth set," Martin said. "I got a break point and from there on, except for a little while in the fifth set, I didn't have nearly enough gas in my tank to control play and he picked up his level quite a bit."

As was the case in the Agassi match, Martin won the second and third sets to gain the upper hand against Vicente. But the 29-year-old began to wear down, making 36 unforced errors in the final two sets. It appeared Martin might pull it out when he broke Vicente in the sixth game and held his own serve to go up 5-2 in the fifth. He jumped out to a love-30 lead on Vicente's next service game, but never did close out the match despite being within two points of victory on three occasions.

Martin led 30-15 when he was trying to serve out the match, only to lose the next three points. He was at deuce on Vicente's serve in the 10th game, then lost two more points to even the match. …

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