Blake conjures greatest fightback to reach fourth round | sports | Hindustan Times
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Blake conjures greatest fightback to reach fourth round

sports Updated: Jan 19, 2008 21:08 IST

American James Blake produced his greatest comeback to overhaul Frenchman Sebastien Grosjean and storm into the fourth round of the Australian Open on Saturday.

The American 12th seed, who has one of the worst five-set records (1-10) in slam tennis, reeled in the 46th-ranked Grosjean, 4-6, 2-6, 6-0, 7-6 (7/5), 6-2 in three hours eight minutes under the closed roof of Vodafone Arena.

Blake, who won his first match in four meetings with the experienced Grosjean, will next play Croatian Marin Cilic in the fourth round on Monday.

Cilic knocked out last year's finalist Fernando Gonzalez of Chile 6-2, 6-7 (4/7), 6-3, 6-1 on Rod Laver Arena.

"That's got to be my biggest comeback. Down two sets to love, two breaks against a guy who was getting a lot of free points on his serve; 4-1 in the (fourth set) tiebreaker, 5-3 in the breaker," Blake said.

"It just seemed like every time there was a mountain to climb. There couldn't have been a better feeling than to accomplish what I did and come back and play so well.

"I feel like I was fresh physically, and mentally stayed focused for the whole time, even when I was down."

Blake looked headed for the scrapheap just like his Davis Cup teammate Andy Roddick, who crashed out in the early hours of Saturday to German Philipp Kohlschreiber.

"I don't really think about my five-set record too much," he said.

"It's a great feeling right now to be in the fourth round and giving myself a chance.

"If I keep giving myself chances, one of these times I will break through.

"The way my confidence is right now I think I have the ability.

"But if it never happens, if I happen to meet Roger Federer in the quarters every single time and he's playing his best tennis, it might be just one of those things that's not to be."

Blake finished over the top of Grosjean as the Frenchman faltered after losing the fourth set tiebreaker.

"I knew he had a five setter before this and maybe his legs weren't as fresh in the fifth set," Blake said. "That's definitely the way it seemed with the amazing gets he was getting in the first two sets.

"In the fifth set it seemed like even though he was getting to the balls he didn't have as much on them at the end.

"I think the game style Sebastien plays and how much he has to run, it maybe made it possible today.

"The fact that he had a five-setters and three-set doubles match yesterday might have had an influence."