Johnson Conquers Groth

2015 SJohnsonWinston-Salem Open, NC

[CR49] Steve Johnson (USA) vs. [CR54] Sam Groth (AUS)

Johnson conquered Groth in three sets. The first two sets were very competitive. Johnson was able to capitalize on one of his two break opportunities in the first set with quality defensive skills.  His excellent serving allowed him to hold on to the break and win the first set 6-4. The second set was a tad more complicated as neither player was able to break the other’s serve. Excellent  all around game from both players forced a tiebreak. Unfortunately for Johnson he came out on the losing end.  A questionable call went in favor of Groth and the second set went to him. Despite the replay showing that Groth’s ball was in, Johnson was not very happy on the changeover. Would he be able to regroup after what he considered to be an erroneous line call?

He did, and the third set was all Johnson. Groth was unable to build on the momentum gained from winning the second set. He seemed to fade away mentally as Johnson elevated the level of his returning game. Groth was constantly on the defensive in the third set and it took a toll. He was broken twice to lose the set and the match. Johnson walked away with the 6-4, 6-7(4), 6-1 victory. He will get either Jo-Wilfried Tsonga or Denis Istomin in the next round. It will be another first time encounter as he has never played either player. He will also have another battle on his hands whoever he faces. Can he build on today’s victory? If he continues playing at the level he did in the final set, he should be into the next round.

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