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Dublin: 13 °C Sunday 30 August, 2015


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Well, well well. Ireland’s Louk Sorensen is currently warming up at Flushing Meadows but instead of playing opposite sixth-ranked Robin Soderling, we’re set for a clash with lucky loser Rogerio Dutra da Silva.

The Brazilian is in against the qualifier after Soderling withdrew late on. There’s is absolutely no news forthcoming on why he’s out however.

Never mind, here we go again.

Da Silva 2  Sorensen 0

The Brazilian manages to hold serve despite some more encouraging tennis from Sorensen.

Soderling is out due to illness, we’re told – not the wrist injury that some suspected had flared up. I don’t know if he dined with Conor Niland on Sunday night… but something’s going on in New York.

Da Silva 3 Sorensen 0

Oh dear. That’s a double break for the lucky loser after a long game marked by grueling exchanges. He ultimately wins out though in front of a crowd who seem to be only now dealing with the fact that Soderling isn’t on court.

The Eurosport pundits insist Sorensen needs to step inside to ‘take away the Brazilian’s time’. What he’s doing now from the baseline hasn’t worked so far anyway.

Da Silva 4 Sorensen 0

There goes another. File under ‘the bleedin’ obvious’; Louk needs to get going here.

Da Silva 5 Sorensen 0

As Morrissey sang: this joke isn’t funny anymore. The Eurosport lads seem as disinterested as the crowd now, who are filtering out during the changeover.

Da Silva takes first set 6-0

Another first-set duck egg but Sorensen at least looks healthy, while Niland was quite obviously suffering last night.

What’s your verdict?

Obviously that was a nightmare start against someone he’d fancy taking out after the ‘lucky’ break of Soderling’s late withdrawal.

But perhaps the Irishman was just flustered by the change of opponent after a build-up in which he no doubt prepared well for the big gun. Hopefully he’ll get his act together now and offer a better account of himself.

Second set: Da Silva 0 Sorensen 1

Boom! We’re up and running; the man in green holds serve. Here’s the stats from American TV for the first set:

Da Silva 1 Sorensen 1

The Brazilian holds serve. From John Riordan on the Twitter machine: “This chap playing/beating Sorenson, Rogerio Dutra Da Silva, lost his 3rd round qualifier against Sergei Bubka’s son Sergei.”

Indications are that Soderling has a viral infection by the way – not, as I speculated, Niland’s leftovers from that unnamed restaurant.

Da Silva 1 Sorensen 2

The Irishman holds serve. This is better – though he did hit a wild one wide to give his opponent a shot at a another break.

He manages to claw it break and win his second game of the match.

Da Silva 2 Sorensen 3, Da Silva won first set 6-0

So they’ve exchanged a couple of business-like games now in front of a much-diminished crowd in New York.

Sorensen looks much more settled and held serve handily there with a few unforced Da Silva errors thrown in for good measure. The Eurosport commentators seem to have thrown their hats at it, meanwhile.

Da Silva 2 Sorensen 4

Sorensen is looking good now. He breaks serve with a lovely forehand down the baseline. And there’s even time for a bit of a fist pump.

Da Silva 2 Sorensen 5

This is more like it; Sorensen – who announced his retirement from professional tennis at the start of the summer, let’s remember - closes out his service game with an ace.

Da Silva 2 Sorenson 1, one set each

We’re motoring now, baby. The Irishman wins his first service game in the third set to love and look a lot more comfortable. The Brazilian also holds serve, twice.

For those asking, Soderling’s late withdrawal would indeed have prompted a walkover but as it’s the first round, the organisers have the right to draft in a so-called lucky loser. As I understand it.

Da Silva 2 Sorensen 2

Sorensen makes short work of his service game again. He’s moving well around the court but his return of serve could improve. It’s an intriguing encounter now though.

Da Silva 3 Sorensen 3, one set all.

There’s some funny grunting going on now: think asthmatic wheezing through an airhorn.

The games are following a similar enough pattern at this stage of the game. Sorensen held serve despite some pressure from Da Silva who threw away any chance of a break with another unforced error.

Da Silva 4 Sorensen 3

That was a close one. Da Silva manages to hold serve despite Sorensen taking advantage and then losing a challenge on a long return. He afforded himself a little smile and ultimately lost the game.

As Scooby Doo said: ruh-roh. The trainer is out on court and seems to be massaging and inspecting that wrist that’s given him some trouble.

Da Silva 4 Sorensen 4

Well he got out of the chair, walked away from the trainer and did the business – including hitting one of the shots of the match on the run, cross court from the baseline.

Da Silva 5 Sorensen 4, one set all

This one’s going to a tie-breaker isn’t it. As Dennis Waterman used to say in The Sweeney: I haven’t had my dinner yet.

Stephen Kelly – who knows his stuff – writes on Twitter:

“Worrying for Sorensen. Looked in a lot of pain in that game. Was attempting immediate outright winners rather than constructing points.”

And he’s right, it doesn’t look too good at all on his service.

Dutra Da Silva takes the third set 6-4

Sorensen looked out of that game but battled admirably to deuce before ultimately succumbing.

Aside from the obvious discomfort in his wrist, he was also feeling his knee. He slumped in his chair throughout the break but we’re up and running – for now, at least, in the fourth set.

The day began with an untypical slice of luck: Robin Soderling pulling out with a viral infection. It’s ended for Louk Sorensen with a withdrawal of his own.

One game down in the fourth, 2-1 down in sets, and hampered by wrist, thumb and calf problems, he was forced off prematurely. Tough stuff again.

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