Sam Groth claims much-needed tennis win

AP – Sam Groth has advanced to the second round of the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships as he attempts to repair his slumping tennis singles ranking.

The big-serving Australian dispatched Poland’s Michal Przysienzny 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 in the first round at the post-Wimbledon grasscourt event at Newport, Rhode Island.

Beaten in straight sets by Kei Nishikori in his first round match at Wimbledon, Groth has plunged to No.134 in the rankings after starting the year at No.60 and needs to climb quickly to ensure direct entry to some of the biggest US hardcourt events including the US Open.

In other matches involving Australians, John-Patrick Smith ousted younger countryman Jordan Thompson, 6-4 6-4 and French sixth seed Adrian Mannarino rallied past James Duckworth 6-7 (7-3) 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (7-4).

The 28-year-old Mannarino was the only seeded player in action and voiced his displeasure over playing on a side court and the condition of Newport’s grass surface.

“I feel relieved that I won the match, but still I didn’t enjoy any minute on the court,” he said.

“The court is just ridiculously bad. We’re playing (next to) the other court. You’ve got the camera, the microphone on the court. You can’t really move. This is really not respectful for the players to come, that kind of court.”

The tournament is held on the grounds of the International Tennis Hall of Fame, and fans can get an up-close look at play on the side courts.

Spectators stand about 20 feet beyond both baselines, behind a fence that’s approximately three-feet high, with a mesh netting attached.

Mannarino said it’s difficult for players to see shots, especially with bad bounces.

“We don’t see the ball,” he said. “We don’t see anything because you’ve got all the people behind the court.”

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