Friday, February 24, 2012

France's Olivetti, 6-foot-8, scores a giant upset

   Six-foot-10 Ivo Karlovic broke through in the early 2000s.
   Then came 6-6 Juan Martin del Potro, Sam Querrey and Marin Cilic in the middle 2000s, 6-9 John Isner and 6-8 Kevin Anderson shortly thereafter, and 6-5 Milos Raonic and Bernard Tomic last year.
   Now comes 6-8 Albano Olivetti.
   The 20-year-old French qualifier stunned second-seeded Mardy Fish 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 Thursday in the second round of the Open 13 in Marseille, France. Olivetti is ranked No. 388 in the world.
   "That's just a number next to his name right now," Fish, the top-ranked American (man or woman) at No. 8, was quoted as saying by the Associated Press. "He won't be there for very long if he continues to play like that."
   Fish is scheduled to play two matches, both at home, for the Sacramento Capitals of World TeamTennis in July. The 30-year-old veteran said Olivetti, who blasted 23 aces, "probably has one of the hardest serves I've ever played against. He hit me with a serve, and I almost hurt my left wrist.
   "I had a rough time with his serve, for sure. When he's down 15-40, he can come back with not only his first serve but his second serve -- it's almost just as good."
   Olivetti will face 31-year-old countryman Michael Llodra, the 2010 champion, in the quarterfinals. Also, the fourth-seeded del Potro of Argentina will take on fifth-seeded Richard Gasquet of France.  
   Meanwhile, Isner, Raonic and Querrey reached the quarterfinals of the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships in Memphis, Tenn.
   Isner, seeded first, downed fellow American Donald Young 7-6 (3), 6-4. Raonic, the No. 4 seed coming off the title of last week's SAP Open in San Jose, eliminated Sergiy Stakhovsky of Ukraine 6-4, 6-4. Querrey, a San Francisco native who won the 2010 Memphis crown, upended the seventh-seeded Anderson of South Africa 7-6 (4), 6-4.

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