[CR88] Joao Souza (BRA) vs. [CR92] Blaz Rola (SLO)
Souza started out playing with confidence and executed his shots almost to perfection. Cheered on by the home crowd, he quickly went up 5-1. Yet, the adrenaline of the moment could not overcome the magnitude of what he was trying to accomplish and he faltered. Rola fought back but it was too late. Souza calmed his mind long enough to focus on holding on to his serve the second time around and claimed the first set.
The second set was brutal for both players, the mental and physical stress took a toll as both players tried to hold on to tenuous leads. Souza had a sitter volley on match point in the tie break and overly anxious, he pushed it long to lose the set. They were both physically fatigued; thus the third set would be a test of mental strength. Souza suppressed the disappointment of losing the second set, conquered the panic of going down a break in the third, and used the home court advantage to defeat Rola 6-4, 6-7(9), 6-4. He has struggled and does not have much to show for his career, but it’s nice to see him produce some brilliant tennis to get the victory in front of the home crowd.