Last night at the Longboat Key Club in Sarasota, Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy student Ricardas Berankis and second-seeded Vince Spadea squared off in a fierce battle in the first round of the Sarasota Open. The match was ultra-competitive from the first ball. The rallies were long and Berankis really wasn't letting Spadea, once ranked #18 in the world, get comfortable.
Berankis took the opening set in a tiebreaker and came out firing in the second set. He took a 4-2 lead in that set, but he couldn't hold onto the momentum as Spadea found his groove winning the next four games and taking the second set 6-4. Spadea was really liking the pace that Berankis was putting on the ball and was going for his shots throughout the match. Spadea got out to a 2-0 lead in the final set and held on for a 6-7(3), 6-4, 6-3 victory over the young Lithuanian. It was a very good match with lots of shot-making and plenty of "oohs" and "aahs" from the crowd.
It's a tough loss for Berankis, who comes into the tournament ranked #485 in the world. He looked like he was going to pull it out in the second set, but Spadea never gave in and battled him for every point.
Today, NBTA student Ryan Harrison will take on Taylor Dent (who trains at the NBTA) at 5pm. Stay tuned for updates...
Here are some photos from yesterday's match and to see more, visit our Flickr page: