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Blake Overcomes Back Injury and Dismisses Spadea

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Black Tennis Pro's James Blake SAP Open

The third-seeded Blake needed only 50 minutes to dispatch Spadea 6-3, 6-4, a convincing win that had to feel good given Spadea's autobiography.

In 2006, Spadea published a book in which he criticized Blake for questionable character because he allegedly "trash-talked" during a match. Spadea also chastised Blake for stealing ladies' attentions at a party.

The world's No. 11 player had 13 aces to two double faults, won 83 percent of his first serves and was never broken, pleasing the night session's 4,956 fans at HP Pavilion. It was a dominating effort considering Blake was forced to pull out of Monday's scheduled exhibition against Pete Sampras because of a strained back.

"I feel bad for the other players, because I've been monopolizing the trainer's time," Blake said. "It's done wonders for me."

James Blake didn't address the elephant in the room, but his play indicated that Wednesday night's SAP Open first-round match against Vincent Spadea might have been a little personal.

Other than loads of heating cream under his shirt, there was little indication that Blake was ailing. He dived on the hard surface for a volley and broke Spadea's serve in the fourth game of the first set and the first game of the second.

Blake served well and worked mostly from the baseline, using aggressive forehands that were deep and flat to advance to the second round to play France's Florent Serra (No. 57).

Spadea, the oldest player (34 years, 7 months) in the tournament, had no answers. Credited with overcoming the longest losing streak (21 matches) in the history of professional tennis, Spadea looked more like that slumping player than the one who rose to No. 18 in the world in 2005.

"He's been on tour for so long and has lost a little bit of mobility, so he knows he has to go after his shots and take chances if he's going to win," Blake said. "That's a good way of adapting for a player that is getting up there in years."

Photo by AP


Posted by Shelia

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