The opening day of the Swiss Open tennis tournament in Gstaad saw no change in fortune for George Bastl, with the Swiss number four suffering another opening round defeat despite a good performance against Argentinian sixth seed Franco Squillari.This content was published on July 10, 2001 - 10:30
"I think I had my chances to win this match," Bastl told swissinfo afterwards. "It's very frustrating to end up as the loser again because I thought the chances were there."
The Swiss wildcard certainly made a promising start to Monday's match, breaking the sixth-seeded Squillari in the opening game.
Squillari broke back immediately though on Bastl's first service game and the Swiss player was unable to get back in front, despite being offerd several more break points.
As has become almost a trademark of his play, Bastl fought valiantly throughout the remainder of the set, taking his next three service games to love.
But with the score at 6-5 in Squillari's favour, Bastl was again broken and forced to surrender the first set 7-5.
Often overpowered by the Argentinian's savage groundstrokes, Bastl relied on clever placement of the ball in the second set to stay in contention for the first five games.
In the sixth game, though, the Swiss player allowed Squillari three break points. The first two he defended successfully, but at 30-40 Squillari sent Bastl the wrong way with a well-executed baseline shot to take a 4-2 lead.
With Squillari serving for the set at 5-3, Bastl managed a timely break to apparently grab himself a lifeline. But the very next game proved to be the last.
Serving to stay in the match, Bastl appeared to have saved the first of two break points, but an apparently good line call against Squillari was overruled by the umpire, forcing Bastl to replay the point.
Another powerful shot from Squillari then saw Bastl crash to the floor. He scurried back onto his feet in time to return the Argentinian's next strike but the subsequent reply was too strong. The Swiss player could only find the top of the net, allowing Squillari to celebrate a hard fought 7-5, 6-4 win.
Bastl didn't need to put too much thought into his post-match comments. Monday's experience of playing well against a top player only to lose on the most important points has become something of a pattern for the Swiss player this season.
"That's the way things have been going so far," Bastl agreed. "It's definitely true that I just haven't been getting the breaks because I've been holding my own against these guys, but losing out on the important points."
"I hope the turning point comes soon," he added. "It's hard to come so close and lose."
Bastl will be sticking around in Gstaad for the doubles competition, before turning his attention to the upcoming hard-court season and, hopefully, a change of fortune.
by Mark Ledsom, Gstaad.
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